About a week ago, Theo asked me if I would take him to the symphony. He has taken his band practice very seriously and seems to really enjoy playing the trumpet, and I happen to love the symphony, so I thought, “Why not? It’ll be a nice holiday treat for us both.” And I started looking around for a family-friendly symphony.
I stumbled upon tickets for the Mark Wood Experience Holiday Extravaganza at the Mondavi Center in Davis, which looked promising. Mark Wood is one of the founding members of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, who I’ve been wanting to see for YEARS! He now travels around the country with his wife (a vocalist) and their young-adult son (a drummer), working with public-school orchestras to put on concerts and inspire the band students to explore new ways to enjoy music. A really cool idea, in my view–and it incorporates two of my favorite music genres: classical and rock. Think Beethoven meets Van Halen…
So I got tickets for me and Theo, and off we went on Friday afternoon. We got to Davis a few hours early and had dinner at a place Chris and I used to go on dates: Cafe Bernardo.
Then we wandered an independent bookstore Chris and I also used to frequent on dates: the Avid Reader. I bought Theo a book he hadn’t yet read from a series he loves, and he was engrossed in it while waiting for the concert to start.
Once the concert started, though, he was completely rapt. He sat very straight in his seat, staring intently at the stage. We were about 10 rows back–close enough to see Mark Wood’s bow strings snapping as he vigorously played his electric violin. (Yes, electric violin. It’s a violin, viola, cello, and bass all in one–an instrument he invented.)
Theo LOVED it, and his eyes lit up when I told him the full orchestra on stage was high school students. Completely in awe!
If you enjoy music in the style of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, I highly recommend this. I had watched YouTube clips and thought it looked promising, but it was WAY more impressive in person. Mark and his wife and son seemed to LOVE performing, which for me always makes a live show so much better! Two full hours of music, and I was sorry to see it end! They did covers of hard rock songs, holiday songs, and original compositions. Just fantastic!!