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Chamber music festival offers plenty for kids

Kids and families are more than welcome at the performances - free and ticketed - for the Cross Currents Chamber Music Festival.

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Music, violin
Sarah Lindenfeld Hall

As a kid, I spent many an afternoon or evening at classical music concerts. Sometimes my father's pieces would be on the program. Sometimes I'd just know the musicians or the composer whose work was being performed. Sometimes they'd be in great concert halls. Other times it was somebody's home. They were a highlight of my childhood.

So maybe I'm biased, but I know that chamber music and kids can mix.

The 10-day Cross Currents Chamber Music Arts Festival starts this Friday with performances around Wake County. The festival will feature a variety of classical and jazz performers including the Brussels Chamber Orchestra.

The festival includes a Music Day at Marbles Kids Museum on Saturday where kids will be able to check out instruments, learn notes and participate in activities throughout the museum. It's free with admission.

But there are other kid-friendly events that offer some great free opportunities to expose your kids to classical music.

"We would like nothing better than to have a whole audience of families with children," festival director Carrie Knowles tells me. "That's what the Brussels Chamber Orchestra is all about: Bringing young people to classical music."

Other events include a free Meet the Musicians program at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Quail Ridge Books on Wade Avenue in Raleigh. Members of the Brussels Chamber Orchestra and the Pierre Anckaert Quintet will discuss and sign their new CD "Strings Attached."

There will be two open, free rehearsals. These are great opportunities to introduce kids to live classical music because if they get antsy, you can leave and you haven't lost anything because it's free.

"We had a seven-year-old come to open rehearsals and stay for four hours," Knowles said. "Kids can sit in the front row and be six feet away from the musicians. It's a very different experience for the kids than if they were at Meymandi," the concert hall at the Progress Energy Center for Performing Arts.

The Brussels Chamber Orchestra will be practicing during the first from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday at Burning Coal Theatre on Polk Street in downtown Raleigh. The rehearsal is in preparation for a concert July 7. The second is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 8 at First Baptist Church on South Academy Street in Cary. The dress rehearsal for a July 10 concert includes Dovid Friedlander and Bonnie Thron from the N.C. Symphony.

And there's more. Check the website for details.


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