The first clue was the conductor Jon Tooby who arrived onstage wearing striped socks.
“He’s wearing Lah-Lah’s socks” cried one young observer, with the keen eyes of a fan.
Tooby and the WA Symphony Orchestra bubbled through an energetic overture (from Mozart’s The Abduction of Seraglio) and then the stars arrived: Lah-Lah and Buzz, the popular entertainers from ABC Kids. Lola (for the uninitiated or those aged over seven Lola is Buzz’s double bass) was nervous but she soon relaxed once the orchestra struck up the Lah-Lah’s Big Live Band theme song.
Lah-Lah (the bright vocals of Tina Harris) and Buzz (Mark Harris on double bass) are characters from ABC’s live action and animation pre-school show which aims to give children a fun introduction to music and musical instruments. The well-seasoned performers bounced around the stage in their cartoon-style costumes getting children up and dancing in what was a noisy hour of entertainment.
Their pop/jazz inflected songs included Brush Your Teeth (the brass section had forgotten to), Shake it Like This, Dancing Doll and (my favourite – perhaps because it wasn’t so noisy!) an atmospheric orchestral arrangement of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Along the way we were introduced to the different sections of the orchestra with the rare opportunity to hear each instrument perform a solo. The small people in my entourage liked the violin (Let it Go from Frozen) and the cello (Star Wars theme song). I’m not normally a flute fan but Andrew Nicholson’s haunting flute version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow was a welcome mellow moment before Lah-Lah and Buzz wound up the pace for the Big Live Band finale complete with giant bouncing balloons.
Lah-Lah and Buzz provided high energy entertainment and it was thrilling to see them live on stage but they didn’t draw us in for the journey. Earlier in the year Paul Rissmann’s irresistible musical adventures based on the story of Stan and Mabel and Leo the Lion made a deeper connection. The musical arrangements were more interesting, the stories engrossing for kids of all ages and there was a range of emotional highs and lows along the way. Rissmann didn’t use giant balloons bouncing around the concert hall for a grand finale because he didn’t need to; the music worked its own magic.
Hi Rosalind, so delighted you came to the concert on the weekend. WASO is such an amazing orchestra to work with, they are generous and talented musicians. Jon Tooby is a legend! Wonderful conductor and such a good sport wearing his red and white socks. For us the show was about introducing little ones to the instruments and the instrument families of the orchestra. We hoped to encourage a new audience who might not be as familiar with the orchestra and orchestral music and to be honest we want music to be fun and engaging, that’s how we like to connect with our families. Our passion is to introduce little ones to a range of styles from world music to jazz music and a touch of classical. This concert was designed to be fun and educational. As adults let’s not filter and be critical. I believe the more live music Kids listen to the better, let’s help kids create their own musica pallet. They are the future of the arts and culture in this country.
Again thank you so much for coming to the show and for tagging us in you post. Kind regards Tina (Lah-Lah)
Thanks for your comment. I am so grateful that people like you exist and I will keep taking my kids and all their buddies to concerts like these which provide amazing opportunities for them to connect with music. I will also keep recording their and my feedback and sharing it as a means of championing the art form I love so much!
Thank you Rosalind and we so need the arts to be championed. Mark and I are working very hard at the moment trying to put a spotlight on on music education in our primary schools and the incredibly low numbers of specialist music educators in our schools. Last count as low as 23% of state schools have specialized music classes . The problems stems from (non specialists music) teachers not feeling confident to teach music classes and not having enough easy to use resources to do these classes. Imagine being asked to teach Italian if you’d never studied Italian. 🙂 We’re working with a music advocacy group to get music specialists into every state primary school
But in the meantime (because these things take time) we’re working with ACTF to create resources for 2018 specifically for non specialist schools. It won’t fix the problem but it’s a step in the right direction. As a writter and as a mum i’d Love to invite you to write more about this. It’s a huge issue for all parents across Australia . Love to chat more if you have time. Tina:) https://actf.com.au/news/10448/coming-in-2018-lah-lah-music-education-resource-for-f-2
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Yes this is a topic close to my heart too. In fact I’ve been advocating for this in my local primary school for 18 months! I would love to see your resources, I will send you an email. Thanks Tina. 🙂