By Mindy Sink
Denver has many cultural offerings for families and children—art museums with kid-friendly hands-on play areas, national and local theater, sculpture on display at the botanic gardens, ballet—but the Colorado Symphony is one that often gets overlooked by families like mine.
Last fall, I took my 8-year old daughter to the symphony for the first time. I should be clear that she does not play a musical instrument (yet!) and is not a fan of sitting still for long periods of time. In addition, this was not a kid program, but a grown-up program that was in conjunction with the Denver Art Museum’s Passport to Paris exhibit. As we watched and listened, I quietly pointed out the visuals—watching all of the violin bows in unison, for example—and she stayed engaged with the program. Recently when I had a friend cancel on going to the symphony, my daughter jumped out of her seat to take the woman’s place and off we went for our second symphony date, this time Beethoven.
The Colorado Symphony does offer an array of age-appropriate programs for children: in May, “America’s favorite zookeeper” Jack Hanna will be on stage with his animals for the live version of his show, Into the Wild. Check their website for the year-round family program schedule, www.coloradosymphony.org. In addition, the Colorado Symphony’s education department has in-school programs available from preschool through high school.
On our second symphony outing, the woman sitting next to us told us about a 4-year old boy who came to a recent concert and sat rapt with attention, silently conducting the show from his seat the entire time. “This is the best deal in Denver!” she kept whispering to me. And it’s true—I have been able to get some incredible deals on tickets to these shows that make it possible for a family outing.
While not as interactive as the painting station at the Denver Art Museum or a stroll through the Denver Botanic Gardens, the Colorado Symphony is a wonderful experience for all ages.