Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Four Year Old Loves "American in Paris" and so Did Grandma!

Four Year Old Loves "American in Paris" 

and so Did Grandma!

by Good News Roving Pittsburgher Reporter

Joanne Quinn-Smith

On Friday,  May 11 at Heinz Hall,  Anne Martindale Williams appeared in the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra premiere of Honeger's Cello Concerto.   She finished to a drawn out standing ovation and a little four year old girl dressed in a long white dress was enthralled.  Yes I took a four year old to the symphony.  At Ravel the week-end before a couple of my fellow attendees were bemoaning the age of the average symphony attendee and so I decided that it was time to take my granddaughter Anaiyah for her first taste of the symphony.  I  was excited to learn how early American jazz influenced European genre of symphony music with Gershwin’s “American in Paris”  and other compositions and my granddaughter was just excited to be at THE SYMPHONY.

The Beach Boys were in town and the tail end of Legally Blonde and a Pirates Game so when we finally found a parking space it was quite a walk.  Normally I would have diner in town first and not experienced the traffic or parking challenge as I would have been in early.  But I thought dinner and the symphony was a bit much for a four year old.

So we got in late and sat for the overture in the overflow area after our long walk and I was amazed that the only question my granddaughter asked was, “Why can’t we go inside?”  as she watched through the window.  Once inside she fit right into the symphony crowd.  Her grandmother could not remember the names of the “kinds of violins.”  So she leaned over to a symphony enthusiast seated next to us and asked, “What’s the big violin called.”  Our music lover and aficionado explained the violin, the cello, the viola and the double bass and Anaiyah is still explaining it to others.

Now admittedly my granddaughter is a bit precocious as guests around us kept turning around to see if she was still there because she was so attentive and quiet as the orchestra played.  She clapped enthusiastically and every once in a while said, “Grandma it sounds like butterflies or …..squirrels running up a tree.”  At one point Gershwin’s “American in Paris” reminded her of galloping horses.  Finally she said, “Grandma this symphony is cartoon music” --obviously a reference to vintage cartoons that her mother and father allow her to watch.

Isn’t that what the symphony is all about?  Feeding your soul, stirring your imagination and enlarging your horizons?   Well it did all of this for one small four year old and also for her grandma and that is the best review I can give of “An American in Paris.”  My best advice, take your children and grandchildren to the symphony, instill the love of music in them and look at the wonderful tapestry of music that the Pittsburgh Symphony provides.  Look at it through the eyes of a child.  

My granddaughter may have been the youngest attendee of the Magic of Paris Festival, but she was probably the most attentive.  Asked by other guests leaving the symphony what she liked best, she waved her hands to mime an orchestra conductor and said, “I like it best when the conductor tells everyone what to play.”

Good News Reporter, Joanne Quinn-Smith is also the Host of PositivelyPittsburghLive Talkcast and the Publisher of, Pittsburgh's first internet radio and TV network
Joanne is the Creative Energy Officer of Dreamweaver Marketing Associates a Pittsburgh Marketing firm which specializes in Web 2.0 Branding.  She is a speaker and author and prolific talkcaster.  Find her profile on LinkedIn at:

(c) Joanne Quinn-Smith 2012 All Rights Reserved

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