Review of Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra The Planets

Disclaimer: Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra provided me with 2 tickets in exchange for promotion and event review. All opinions are 100% ours.

Yesterday my daughter and I attended The Planets by the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra which was the last performance in the 2013-2014 Family Concert Series. My daughter loves Star Wars, so she was thrilled with the idea of a concert that included Star Wars music. Kids were encouraged to come in costume or bring lightsabers. There were a number of both costumes and lightsabers. My daughter opted for a lightsaber instead of her Princess Leia costume. She is also currently studying space and the planets in science, so she was excited for some of the pre-concert activities.

The concert starts at 4p with pre-concert activities from 2:30-2:40p. We arrived about 2:40p and picked up our tickets from Will-Call in the lobby. My daughter kept pointing out the Bank of Ann Arbor sign on the table. She thought it was funny…

… of course she was quick to point out that “Of course I know there is no droid called A2SO.”

After picking up our tickets, we proceeded into the lobby for pre-show activities. The highlight of the pre-show activity was the Apollo space suit that you could have your picture taken with. The Symphony was taking photos and you could take your own. The picture below is mine, my daughter’s eyes were closed in the photo the symphony took.

My daughter also enjoyed the activities from the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum. When we attended the November concert, we got to the AAHOM table just as they were closing the activities. She was glad to have some time to test out the sound vibration experiments. She also got to experiment with magnets.

 Mir’s Oriental Rugs was holding a raffle for 3 space themed rugs. Their ticket collection container was decorated as Darth Vader and my daughter enjoyed this dueling pose with it.

The final activity that my daughter participated in was the space presentation by the University of Michigan. She stayed watching the presentation for about 20 minutes. They had a laptop and were navigating around the solar system to show different views. My daughter and her friend loved seeing the different planets and views of the solar system. The presentation was very interactive and the kids were able to suggest planets to view. My daughter’s friend asks to see Endor, and they were disappointed that they could only view real planets.

The kids were quite disappointed when they had to end the “planetarium” show for the concert to start. But, it left enough time for us to use the bathroom, find our seats, and wait for the show to begin.

The concert featured former NASA Astronaut Tony England who was a backup on the Apollo and Skylab program and flew on the Space Shuttle. The music was themed around space. As each piece was introduced, a little background was included. Many of the pieces were written based on the gods that the planets were named for since the pieces were written before much was known about the planets.

Some of the songs were accompanied with pictures from space. I really enjoyed getting to see the images while we listened to the music.

One of the sets featured guest cellist Lev Mamuya, a 16 year old on the cello. It was quite impressive to see/hear the talent of someone so young.

The show concluded with my daughter’s favorite part, the music of Star Wars by John Williams. She was thrilled to see Conductor Arie Lipsky conduct with a lightsaber. She was a little hesitant when the kids were invited to help conduct with their lightsabers. She told me “but I don’t know how to conduct”. I assured her that she wasn’t actually conducting and just needed to wave her lightsaber around.

Overall, we had a fun time at the concert. My daughter really enjoyed the pre-show activities and the Star Wars music.

My daughter is looking forward to the 2014-2015 Family Concert Series which was previewed in the program. The 2014-2015 Benard L. Maas Foundation Family Series is:

  • Sunday, October 12 4p – Mozart’s Magnificent Voyage at Michigan Theater
  • Saturday, December 6, 4p – Sing-Along with Santa at Bethlehem United Church of Christ
  • Sunday, March 22, 2015 4p – Disney In Concert at Michigan Theater
Mozart’s Magnificent Voyage will include 23 excerpts from Mozart’s music while 2 actors recreate scenes from Mozart’s life. The concert is recommended for ages 6 and up. The format is similar to this season’s Beethoven Lives Upstairs which we enjoyed. The Sing-Along with Santa was a lot of fun. As a big Disney fan, my daughter is most excited for Disney in Concert which will feature music from many Disney movies such as The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Lion King, Aladdin, and Pirates of the Caribbean. I am definitely marking our calendar.
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Ann Arbor with Kids is your go-to source for Ann Arbor Family Fun. It got its start in an activity list that I was compiling for the playgroup I ran at our church. When my daughter started preschool, the other moms were thrilled to hear about my list. I decided to take the list public in 2009.

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