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  • Elaine Rinaldi

Why Kids Concerts?

Updated: Dec 8, 2023

Scene One: When I was a kid, we didn’t go to a lot of concerts or events. My parents were teachers for the MDCPS, and with three kids, piano lessons, extracurriculars, and all the basics, there wasn't much leftover for outings- which is why I remember this one. My mom and her dear friend Joan Schmitt brought “the kids” to a production of Raggedy Ann. I don’t remember who produced it- I was probably around 9 or 10. But I do remember that I was bored!! And so were much-missed my mom and her friend- so much so, that we left early.

Scene Two: In 1981, the intrepid Doreen Marx started the wonderful and much missed Sunday Afternoons of Music series, bringing world-class performers to South Florida, as well as presenting the finest local artists (I was fortunate enough to perform on her series twice!). She and her husband, Byron Krulewitch, were concerned that there were no outlets for introducing children to the arts, so in 2001, they started the Sunday Afternoons of Music for Children series.

Photo of Byron Kruewitch and Doreen Marx
Byron Kruewitch and Doreen Marx

Scene Three: In 2011, orchestra Miami had been around for five seasons, and while we had been performing free small-scale concerts for kids in libraries, I wanted to do something bigger. So, using the wonderful Sunday Afternoons of Music for Children series as a model, we performed our very first large-scale concert for kids: The "Carnival of the Animals Carnival" at University of Miami’s Gusman Hall. I invited the fabulous Fantasy Theatre Factory to collaborate, and they brought such magic! Jugglers, stilt walkers in animal costumes, plate spinners all awaited our guests, who then had to calm down and listen to classical music- LOL!! (We also had cookies & juice AND pet adoption after the concert- whew!!)

Photo of a stiltwalking giraffe and a little girl

Scene Four: Fast forward to 2015: Now that Pinecrest Gardens was open, Orchestra Miami had been performing one to two family concerts per year at the beautifully restored Banyan Bowl. Sadly, in 2014, after 33 years of producing concerts, Doreen & Byron decided to retire. I called up Doreen and told her that I wanted to restart their series for children. She couldn’t have been more delighted, and she & Byron embraced me with open arms! They gave me their mailing list, computer equipment, and tons of advice! And thanks to the generosity of the Funding Arts Network, Orchestra Miami started its Family Fun series. We were very ambitious that first year!! My idea was to bring the concerts to all parts of Miami-Dade County, so we had a series in Aventura/Sunny Isles Beach, Doral and at Pinecrest Gardens!!

Funding Arts Network Logo

Despite the generosity of FAN, we didn’t have enough other sponsors to sustain all of those concerts. But as you know, we have an incredible partnership with Pinecrest Gardens, and it is the perfect venue for our Family Fun series! This season we’re beginning with one of my favorite pieces for kids: Bruce Adolphe’s Tough Turkey in the Big City!

Remember in Scene One, where I said that we walked out of Raggedy Ann because it was boring? Well, one of my most important criteria for selecting programs for the family series is that it is entertaining not just for kids, but for their parents as well!! Our concerts don’t just entertain- they always have an educational component as well. Since 2015, we’ve presented programs which introduce kids to symphonic music, opera, many different styles of dance (including Flamenco and Samba), different cultural traditions, choral music, Shakespeare and music more.

Photo of The Three Little Pigs- and the Wolf! From OM's 2023 show
The Three Little Pigs- and the Wolf! From OM's 2023 show

Denouement: Orchestra Miami’s mission is to build community and educate through music. Our Family Fun series is truly the embodiment of that mission. I still have ambitions to expand this incredible series and bring it to communities in other parts of the County. But we can’t do that without your support! If you are so inclined, you can help Orchestra Miami sustain our mission by supporting us on Give Miami Day! Early giving begins on Monday, November 15th, and as you know, your gifts will be amplified with a percentage match from the Miami Foundation. So mark your calendars! And more importantly, see you on November 12th at Pinecrest Gardens for some Turkey!

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