UCA’s theater department and the Conway Symphony Orchestra (CSO) performed the “Peter and the Wolf” children’s concert March 14 at Reynolds Performance Hall.
In the concert’s first part, Conway Symphony Orchestra played movements 2 and 3 of a modern musical piece “X Concerto,” under conduction of Geoffrey Robson.
The piece, by Scott McAllister, was inspired by rock’n’roll and blues styles, with guest artist and clarinetist Kayla Smalley. Smalley completed her master’s degree in music performance at UCA and was a finalist in the university’s Gold Medal concerto competition.
In the concert’s second part, CSO played “Peter and the Wolf,” a musical composition written by Russian composer, pianist and conductor Sergei Prokofiev in 1936.
“Peter and the Wolf” is a children’s story told by a narrator and accompanied by an orchestra
. Freshman Brent Welch said the story is about a young boy named Peter who lives with his grandfather in the woods.
“Peter ventures out the gate one day and is warned by his grandfather of wolves,” he said. “Then a wolf appears and eats Peter’s duck. Peter, his cat and a bird trick the wolf, capture him and put him in a zoo.”
KLRE classical music host and programmer Matt Patton was the narrator and read the fairy tale to the audience.
Each instrument in the orchestra represented a particular character from the story.
Welch dressed up as Peter, freshman John Anderson dressed up as the wolf, sophomore Casey Conrad dressed up as the cat and freshman Kimberlyn Fitts dressed up as the duck.
Fitts said it was a blast to dress up as the characters.
“It was a lot of fun to see the kids’ reactions and questions at the end of the show,” she said. “[CSO] did a wonderful job portraying the story.”
Welch agreed that CSO did a wonderful job.
“There wasn’t a single kid I had seen that left without a smile on their face,” he said.
Welch said normally the actors have more involvement during the show, but this year there were scheduling issues.
After the concert’s first portion, Smalley answered a few questions about her musical career path.
Smalley said she wanted to choose trombone first, but then was convinced by her middle school band director to play clarinet.
Jazz and contemporary music inspired Smalley, she said.
Smalley gave advice to future musicians.
“Don’t be too hard to yourself,” she said. “I am a way too hard on myself. If you really want to be good you need to keep practicing. Not everyday you are going to sound your best but
some days you will.”
After the one-hour performance, audience members were offered refreshments. There were also children’s crafts organized by the Conway Symphony Orchestra Guild.
Children had a chance to meet the musicians and play one of the four different instruments – viola, violin, clarinet or cello.
Welch said he and his fellow actors were asked to entertain the children before and after the performance.
“We suited up and headed out to the lobby,” he said. “We talked to them, took pictures with families and reenacted certain parts of the story.”
Audience members were invited to bring non-perishable items for local food banks, as the CSO is participating in the Orchestra’s Feeding America program for the fifth year. All food collected was given to local food pantries.
First Security Bank, Crain Automotive and Aramark sponsored the concert.