I was really excited to see a local showing of The Snowman by carrot productions accompanied by a live orchestra and to introduce my boys to the magic of strings (other instruments are available but they are my favourite)
The performance itself did not disappoint.
It started with an introduction to all the instruments in the form of a short ‘tale’ of how the bass player had lost his train ticket on the way to Stoke and had to walk through the carriages to locate the conductor. On his way, he met various band members with their instruments at which point they played to narrate the story. Although this was clearly a fictitious story it was a great way of keeping the audience engaged and a novel way of introducing children to the various instruments.
The story of The Bear and The Piano followed which was narrated by the silky smooth tones of Joanna Lumley and really showed the instruments off beautifully.
A short intermission followed and Harrys excited cry of “yeay!” showing that he thought it was over made me very nervous for the next half but he settled well as The Snowman began.
At times it was easy to forget that there was an orchestra playing as it was note perfect and the film itself is beautiful to watch. Equally, there were moments when I caught myself simply watching the instruments as they effortlessly created what can only be described as a massage for the ear drums. Differences in tone and volume made the auditory experience so much more intense and there really is no better way to enjoy music than being able to physically feel the vibrations.
As the music illustrated the part of the film where The Snowman realises that dawn is approaching and takes James’ hand to fly him home, I swear that every hair on my body (including my legs because its winter) stood on end and tears prickled my eyes. There really is so much emotion in live classical music that it’s hard to explain unless you hear it for yourself.
Harry snuggled into me and watched the whole performance, applauding at the end and telling me that it was “good” when I asked.
In the car on the way home we chatted about what we had enjoyed and Oliver, as honest as ever, said “I expected it would be a bit boring but that music was amazing and the film was really good too”. My partner Andrew who came with us said that he felt it was the perfect introduction for children to the power and beauty of classical music (and also that he’d watched me lovingly gazing at the strings). Harry was still clapping as we drove away – don’t ever think a nonverbal child can’t express themselves.
One thing we all agreed on was that whilst all of the instruments were incredible, notable mention had to be given to one instrument that we agreed isn’t really appreciated enough, the exceptionally beautiful harp. The only way I can describe how wonderful it sounded was to compare it to the vision of a unicorn, jumping in slow motion whilst farting a rainbow (you can see it can’t you!) It was sensational!
There was every age group there for the performance and I highly recommend visiting if you see one near you next year. The entire performance lasted for about 90 minutes (including intermission) but the memory of such a beautiful, heart-warming evening will last a life time and Oliver was still talking about it the next morning. Christmas has officially begun!
Featured image courtesy of © Snowman Enterprises Limited.
I received four tickets for this production in exchange for my review. All views are my own