Jacksonville Symphony – A Perfect Idea for Family Night

It is time to inspire your kids!  If you are looking to do something out of the ordinary and extraordinary for a great family night, visiting the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra is where it is at.  It is time for them to be exposed to something other than top 40 music and Justin Bieber.  The Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra does a great job at introducing kids to the world of beautiful music and has become a valuable resource for building their appreciation toward the performing arts. 

History

In September of 1949 the Charter for the Jacksonville Symphony Association was approved by the Florida Circuit Court.  Their first performance as the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra was held at the George Washington Auditorium in March of 1950 and if you could believe admission was only a dollar back then!  Right from the beginning the Jacksonville Symphony has always been dedicated to bringing the arts to our children.  In 1959, they launched a 13 week educational television series called “The Magic of Music” that was broadcasted on WJCT Channel 7 for Duval County Schools. 

It wasn’t until 1962 the found their permanent home at Jacksonville Civic Auditorium.  The Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra has been host to some of the most renowned artists of the past century such as Isaac Stern, Benny Goodman and Duke Ellington.  They have performed twice at Carnegie Hall and have broadcast nationally on Performance Today. 

Jacksonville Symphony Today

The Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra ranks among nation’s top regional orchestra and has been vital towards Jacksonville’s continued growth for the community.  Their season begins in September and ends in May, where today they perform  at Times-Union Center for the performing Arts as well as community venues throughout the First Coast and statewide.  

For the 2014-2015 season they will be debuting a new music director designate, Courtney Lewis.  Already known for being an extremely talented director of his generation, he has also been the assistant conductor of the New York Philharmonic.  With an impressive resume, he previous work experience as music director of Boston’s Discover Ensemble was not only responsible for giving superb performances of contemporary and established repertoire but giving back to the community by bringing music to underprivileged parts of Boston with workshops in their local schools. Courtney Lewis will begin his full season as music director during the 2015-2016 season. 

The Jacksonville Symphony is dedicated to its non-profit cultural and educational organizations.  The pride themselves in their programming as they make efforts to reflect the diversity within the community as well as making sure it is relevant to today’s audience.  From classic masterpieces to contemporary works as well as opera, theater and other popular styles, there is something for everyone to fall in love with.  They also have over 2,000 music lovers who are part of this wonderful Jacksonville community that are also dedicated members of the symphony’s volunteer groups. 

Importance of the Performing Arts

Music has an awesome and powerful effect on our emotions.  You can soothe a fussy baby with a lullaby and it can also spark wonderful memories when we hear a certain song.  A child who grows up listening to music will develop strong music related connections. 

Research has shown that classical music can improve our spatial reasoning.  Spatial reasoning is the ability we use to position and orientate ourselves in everyday environments.  It can help clear our heads and focus on tasks.  Learning to play an instrument can even have longer effect on certain thinking skills.  They teach us to be creative thinkers and how to experience the world in a different way.  The Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra is great at bringing programs to children that are engaging and inspires them want more.

Jacksonville Symphony Family Programs

There are a multitude of programs that Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra provides as a great resource to building music appreciation.  The have a great family series that is designed for children as a great way to introduce them to the symphony.  With collaboration of the children’s theatrical and dance groups, their programs are engaging and entertaining for children of all ages. 

This year they have an awesome four-concert series this season.  For the Harry Potter fan, they will love the Symphonic Sorcery.  Get into the spirit of the season with The Polar Express in December and in February enjoy a laugh and a story with Sounds of the Symphony.  In April, you can enjoy the story The Twins and the Monster come to life as you watch two twins outsmart a scary monster.  These concert series take place on Sunday afternoons at 3pm with pre-concert activities that begin an hour before.

They also have wonderful outdoor events where you can pack a picnic, bring a blanket and enjoy amazing performances at the Metropolitan Park.  Sleeping Beauty and First Coast Nutcracker are just a couple family friendly performances that are a must see.  With live choreography, amazing costumes and fabulous music, it is a family night they won’t soon forget!

QUESTION OF THE DAY: are you a lover of the symphony? do you have a favorite piece you love seeing performed? Share with us in the comments below!