Concerts promise family fun; ASO: The orchestra's Oct. 24 performances will feature the internationally acclaimed Magic Circle Mime Company and a guest conductor from the Maryland Symphony in Hagerstown.


The Annapolis Symphony Orchestra's Family Concerts on Oct. 24 at 2 p.m. and 3: 30 p.m. promise to be especially delightful.

The internationally acclaimed Magic Circle Mime Company -- Maggie Petersen and Douglas Mac-Intyre -- will perform along with a favorite guest conductor, Elizabeth Schulze.

Schulze, the new music director of Maryland Symphony in Hagerstown, will conduct the Family Concerts as well as narrate an original script teaching children how to become good listeners.

It seems almost predestined that Schulze should conduct the ASO with Magic Circle Mime because about four years ago, ASO Education Director Pamela Chaconas saw them perform together with the National Symphony Orchestra at a packed Kennedy Center. She was so impressed that after the performance, she told Schulze and Magic Circle Mime that she wanted them come to Annapolis.

Much in demand by major symphony orchestras, Magic Circle Mime has acquired an international reputation, having performed with the National Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony and the Cleveland and Chicago symphony orchestras. Outside the United States, the pair has appeared in Hong Kong, Montreal, Taiwan, Japan and China.

For its ASO program, the two act as overly enthusiastic members of the audience who complicate the orchestra's performance by tap dancing and blowing the bugle and trumpet in an original piece called "The Listener." Using humor, drama and dance, Magic Circle Mime shows the young audience that listening to music requires talent and training.

The rest of the program seems equally inspired in its variety. Benjamin Britten's "Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra," spotlighting each section of the orchestra, promises to be a major highlight.

In a program selected to engage young people and entertain their adult companions, the concert will include Leonard Bernstein's sprightly, melodic overture to "Candide," Georges Bizet's familiar "Les Toreadors" from "Carmen," and Sergey Prokofiev's dramatic "Birth of Kije" and "Troika" from "Lt. Kije Suite."

The finale from one of Mozart's final works, the brilliant Symphony No. 39, and Tchaikovsky's lilting and melodic "Dance of the Swans" from the "Swan Lake" suite will complete the varied program.

As usual, ASO invites the children and their parents to meet and talk to orchestra members and see how instruments are played at pre- and post-concert sessions, at 1: 15 p.m. and at 4: 30 p.m.

These "Meet the Musicians" sessions are always great fun and rewarding both to children and to the musicians, who eagerly volunteer to be part of this treasured ASO custom. They also provide great photo opportunities for parents.

Single tickets may be purchased for $10 for adults and $8 for children.

Subscriptions are also available for the two-concert series, with the second concert, "Symphony at the Circus," to be conducted by Leslie Dunner and feature the Bob Brown puppets on March 12 for a subscription price of $20 for adults and $12 for students.

Family Concerts are designed for elementary school-age children who are at least 4 years old. For information and to order single or subscription tickets, call the ASO box office at 410-263-0907.

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