Yesterday the kids and I were invited to attend a special concert by the Madison Symphony Orchestra called "Symphony Soup!" The event is really for young elementary school students (and there were busloads upon busloads of them filling the Capitol Theatre at the Overture Center downtown), but orchestra members were able to invite guests, so a friend of mine in the violin section got us tickets.
The Overture Center on State Street is a relatively new and really stunning building, at least in my opinion. There are several theaters, including a big huge hall for the Broadway tours and large symphony concerts, a large hall (Capitol Theatre) where theSymphony Soup concert was held, and several smaller stages and performances spaces, including one in the bottom level that is visible from a large round hole in the floor of the entrance foyer. There is artwork everywhere, clear glass rails and chrome banisters. I can't imagine the cost of maintenance keeping that place clean and shiny, but my, is it gorgeous. Just finding our way to the Capitol Theatre was exciting with spectacular curved white stone steps, shiny elevators, gently sloping floors and gilded ceilings on the way.
The kids loved walking through the building and exploring a little bit. They tolerated the concert. And by "tolerated" I mean that Anya fell asleep in my lap during the first piece and slept soundly through the whole thing and Daniel had his fingers plugging his ears for the first half of the concert, after which he kept saying in a loud whisper "I'm ready to leave now!"...but in the end they both actually sat through the whole thing, and later Daniel admitted that he liked it. Really, you can't ask more than that from a four-year-old, right?
Afterwards I took the kids out for ice cream. We sat by the lake and watched the sailboats and I thought about the music and wondered about their future musical education. They are too young for lessons (except some kids Daniel's age have started violin already, but I want to avoid that whole Suzuki circus, if possible), so I'm just going for exposure at this point. And as far as that goes, I don't even have music playing at home very often. I'm not crazy about the classical programming during the day on our public station, and putting on a CD or finding something in iTunes is just an invitation for Daniel to start playing with the buttons and stopping and starting all the tracks and that drives me crazy. But the kids hear me practice, they hear me sing and hum, and we go to concerts when possible, and I think that's good enough for now.