Children’s eyes are sure to light up when beautiful ballerinas dance and twirl in Pacific Symphony’s annual “Nutcracker for Kids,” led by the Symphony’s new Assistant Conductor Roger Kalia and featuring the Festival Ballet Theatre. The most popular concert of the Symphony’s Family Musical Mornings series, presented by Farmers and Merchants Bank, this holiday concert brings to life the enchanted world of toy soldiers, waltzing flowers and the Sugar Plum Fairy in a 50-minute version of the famous ballet adapted especially for children ages 5 and above. The orchestra performs the ballet’s most famous moments including “Clara and the Nutcracker,” “Waltz of the Flowers,” “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” and “A Pine Forest in Winter.” Family-favorite actress Stephanie Draude (“A Sherlock Holmes Halloween” and “Superheroes”) joins in as elf Clementine Sparkletoes to help narrate the story told through music and dance. And to top off this festive holiday tradition—Santa Claus makes a special appearance with his young “Elves in Training,” along with Miss Sparkletoes, to lead the audience in a merry sing-along!
“‘The Nutcracker’ has been a holiday favorite for as long as I can remember,” says Maestro Kalia. “Not only is it one of the greatest musical masterpieces ever written, the visual aspect of watching the dancers mixed in with the music is a wonderful sight. The music is absolutely extraordinary, and there are a wide range of emotions throughout the ballet. One of my favorite dances is ‘A Pine Forest in Winter,’ which is perhaps the most beautiful and lyrical in the entire ballet, and features lush strings and a stirring climax with powerful brass and percussion. The music depicts Clara’s Nutcracker being transformed into a handsome human prince, where he proceeds to take Clara on a magical sleigh into a moonlit pine forest.” During the concert, children also learn about different percussion instruments including the triangle, bass drum, timpani and celesta. The merriment continues at the Musical Carnival where the Caroling Connection and Northwood High School Tuba Ensemble perform holiday music. Children can make ornaments filled with holiday wishes, and meet and take photos with Santa, Symphony musicians and the dancers from FBT. The Symphony has also partnered with Pretend City to present the Imagination Playground.
This much-loved fairy tale takes place on Saturday, Dec. 5, at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, and also includes a Musical Carnival at 9 a.m. (for the 10 a.m. show) and 12:15 p.m. (for the 11:30 a.m. show). Tickets are $35-$60, and are available at (714) 755-5799 and www.PacificSymphony.org.