Have No Fear, Fortissimo is Here! —Ninth Annual Family Concert Engages Young and Old—
The Missoula Symphony Orchestra returns to the stage on January 30 at 7 p.m. for its annual Family Concert, this year helping superhero Fortissimo regain his superpowers. The show, now in its ninth year, provides a unique opportunity for kids to learn about dynamics, rhythm, harmony, and instruments. Don your superhero cape, and join the show!
This year Symphony Music Director Darko Butorac plays the role of musical superhero Fortissimo, whose superhero power is to rid the world of bad music. Unfortunately for him, (and the world in general), dastardly Dr. Dissonance has defeated him, the treble maker that he is, and Fortissimo needs the help of the audience. “The kids in the audience help by demonstrating their musical prowess while learning a little bit along the way,” Butorac explains. “This show is very interactive and fully engages kids, which really amps up their level of understanding.”
“And,” he adds, “it’s going to be hilarious.”
Sharing the stage again this year is singer and performer Creighton James, aka the devious Dr. Dissonance. James is no stranger to the family concert nor the audience, as he has starred in past shows as characters such as Detective Pinot Noir investigating a crime on the Symphony Express, the remote-control wielding “Spaceman,” and Pirate Captain Darkbeard’s double-crossing sidekick, Billy Five Toes. This year, according to Butorac, the audience can expect an equally entertaining performance. “Creighton’s energy and creativity adds to the show tremendously,” he says, “and kids love him. It’s going to be another fantastic evening.”
The show is also performed earlier in the day as part of the Symphony’s ongoing community outreach, to approximately 2,000 fourth graders representing over 40 schools from Missoula and the surrounding region. “Kids bus in from as far as St. Regis and Philipsburg. It’s a great opportunity for us to do outreach to kids who might not have the exposure to classical music in their community,” says Symphony Executive Director, John Driscoll. The focus on fourth graders is intentional, he adds, as the fall semester of fifth grade year is when children in Missoula County Public Schools select an instrument to play. “For some kids this concert is the first time they’ve ever even heard certain instruments—if we can inspire a future trumpet player, we’ve done our job,” he says.
The concerts, which take place at the Dennison Theatre, run about one hour. According to Butorac, this year’s repertoire includes recognizable and kid-friendly music including excerpts from well-known pieces such as the Beethoven's Ode to Joy, Igor Stravinsky’s Firebird and Jean Sibelius’s Finlandia. “You may not be able to pull the name of the piece out of your head,” he says, “but I guarantee it will be familiar to you.” To add to the super hero theme, music from Batman and Superman will also be featured, but that, he says, is a secret. (shhhhhhh!)
To get kids excited about the concert, the Symphony is also sponsoring a Fortissimo coloring contest, with the winners to be announced at the concert. Artwork can be viewed the month of January at Bernice’s Bakery, 190 South 3rd Street West, which will be selling Fortissimo-themed cookies in honor of the show. Young artists can find the picture to color on the Symphony website, the Symphony Office or at Bernice’s Bakery. Another local eatery is joining in on the fun, and Biga Pizza will be featuring a Fortissimo! pizza the last week of January.
Tickets for the 7 p.m. Family Concert can be purchased online at missoulasymphony.org, by phone at 721-3194, or in person at the Symphony office at 320 East Main Street. All tickets $8.
Press Release: January 14, 2015
Media Contact: Lucy Beighle (406) 239-3193