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Peter and the Wolf Meets Sesame Street

On Saturday, March 29, the Smith College Orchestra invites families and audiences young and old to a special concert featuring Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf and songs from Sesame Street. Hosted by Sesame Street’s Bob McGrath and starring local children’s choruses and the Amherst Ballet, this family-friendly concert will begin at 3 p.m. in John M. Greene Hall. It is open to the public.

In addition to hosting the concert, Bob McGrath will narrate the Smith College Orchestra’s performance of Sergei Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf. Written in 1936 by Prokofiev for his son, the piece presents the fable through words and music. The orchestra portrays the cast of animal and human characters by assigning specific instruments and lively musical themes to each role. Jonathan Hirsh will conduct the Smith College Orchestra in this beloved children’s classic.

Accompanying the orchestra will be an original ballet of Peter and the Wolf performed by Amherst Ballet. Featuring 12 young dancers ranging in age from 8 to 14, this original version of a great classic is choreographed by Amherst Ballet director Catherine Fair.

The concert will also feature songs from the popular children’s television show Sesame Street. The Smith College Glee Club and director Jonathan Hirsh will welcome guests, the South Hadley Children’s Chorus, directed by Cathy Melhorn, and the Hampshire Young People’s Chorus, directed by K.C. Conlan, in the performance of such favorites as “Rubber Duckie,” “The Rainbow Connection,” “The Sesame Street Theme,” and “It’s Not Easy Being Green.”

The performance is open to the public. Tickets ($15-$20, general public; $10, children under 12) are available through the Northampton Box Office (413-586-8686;

About the Performers

Host and narrator Bob McGrath just celebrated his 38th year on Sesame Street. He has bridged two generations of viewers as one of the original hosts. He was recently inducted into the 2002 Silver Circle of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He is the recipient of the American Eagle Award by the National Music Council and the Fame Award by the National Association of Music Educators for furthering the cause of music education. In addition to his role as music teacher on Sesame Street, Bob is a successful author, recording artist and concert performer. McGrath has performed thousands of family pops, educational, and holiday concerts, which always include local children singing and dancing.

Amherst Ballet celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2007 and is well known throughout Western Massachusetts for its high-quality dance education and performances. The school provides excellence in training in a variety of dance idioms with an emphasis on classical ballet. As a part of its mission, Amherst Ballet collaborates frequently with artists, arts and education organizations, and local schools.

The Hampshire Young People’s Chorus offers children a comfortable and encouraging atmosphere in which to learn healthy vocal technique, develop fundamental music skills, and sing a wide range of music from different styles and traditions. Under the auspices of the Hampshire Choral Society, an institution promoting the love of choral singing for
more than 50 years, the Young People’s Chorus includes more than 70 singers ages 7 to 17 from all over the Pioneer Valley. The Young People’s Chorus has performed widely, including appearances with the Pioneer Valley Symphony, Amherst Ballet and Commonwealth Opera.

The South Hadley Children’s Chorus performs an exciting repertory drawn from many different cultural traditions. The chorus provides strong vocal training and nurtures each child’s inner artist. Through performance, choir members not only develop poise and self-esteem, but also experience the joy of creating and sharing something beautiful through careful and persistent practice.

3/26/08   Department of Music press release
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