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Jean Oelrich
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“Dinosaurs!” Journey into prehistoric times with Pacific Symphony for Family Musical Mornings concert featuring the William J. Gillespie Concert Organ

February 24, 2014

Concert includes realistic large-scale Triceratops puppet, videos, imagery and educational activities provided by Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

Shades of Jurassic Park! Big booming sounds from the William J. Gillespie Concert Organ and dino-mite music performed by Pacific Symphony combine with authentic footage from the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHM) to create a family-fun musical expedition into the prehistoric world of “Dinosaurs!” Presented by Farmers and Merchants Bank, this Family Musical Mornings concert features a 66-pound dinosaur puppet, plus videos and still images of dinosaurs, fossils and paleontologists at work, provided by the NHM. Filled with dinosaur-inspired music, children and families are guided by paleontologist Dr. Olivia Mattis (Bree Burgess Rosen) and her young assistant Sammy (Coleton Ray) in a hunt for clues in the music to reveal the identity of a mystery dinosaur. An imaginative spectacle, “Dinosaurs!” sets the mood for the little T-Rex or Stegosaurus hoping to uncover the mysteries of natural history.

Led by Assistant Conductor Alejandro Gutiérrez, the orchestra is joined by organist Kristen Lawrence, as well as Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra (PSYO) playing side by side the professional musicians, for a performance of John Williams’ “Jurassic Park”; James Newton Howard’s “The Egg Travels” from the Disney film, “Dinosaur”; Verdi’s Overture to “La Forza del Destino” and selections from Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet” and Saint Saëns’ “Organ” Symphony. Taking place Saturday, March

8, at 10 and 11:30 a.m. in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, the concert is written and directed by Symphony favorite Joe Lauderdale, who also provides costumes and props. Tickets are $19-$39. For more information or to purchase tickets, please call (714) 755-5799 or visit PacificSymphony.org.

“I didn’t know much about dinosaurs until my son, Marco, turned 4 years old,” reflects Maestro Gutiérrez. “He was so excited to learn about dinosaurs that he became an expert on the subject, and because of Marco, I learned a bit about dinosaurs, too. I am so happy to share some of what I learned with our family audience, and more importantly, to share some beautiful and inspiring music.”

Appealing to kids of all ages, but especially those ages 5-11, this 45-minute concert is designed to introduce children to the rich world of classical music with storytelling and music selections that are fun for the entire family. With the help of the orchestra, actors and spotlight instrument, the organ, children are taken on a path to learn about dinosaurs from the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.

“Music can open our minds to imagine all sorts of creatures—even dinosaurs!” says Susan Miller Kotses, director of education and community engagement. “All pieces chosen for this concert are rich in musical color and texture, allowing us to travel back to prehistoric times using our imaginations. Like with all of our concerts, excerpts are short in length and allow ample opportunity for kids to respond to the music. There are also moments when Maestro Gutiérrez will break down specific musical moments to better illustrate interesting or evocative aspects of the pieces.”

In addition to the concert, children and families are invited to participate in the Musical Carnival—beginning at 9 a.m. (for those attending the 10 a.m. performance) and at 12:15 p.m. (for those attending the 11:30 a.m. concert). Taking place in the concert hall lobby, the Carnival is packed with entertaining activities for children, including a meet-and-greet with Symphony musicians, the opportunity to make dinosaur noises with instruments, “Ask the Orchestra,” an “Instrument Test-Drive” and a performance by the

Anaheim Union High School District Gate Orchestra. Plus, interactive and educational activities including real fossils, videos and more are provided by the NHM, as well as the city of Lake Forest’s Jurassic Parks and Recreation.

“We want to provide kids with an educational experience for this concert that encompasses not just music, but also provides some real dinosaur-related learning,” says Kotses. “What better way to do it than to partner with the experts at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County! Their collaboration will create an even more engaging concert and Musical Carnival experience—and more interactive fun, too!”

The final Family Musical Mornings concert of 2013-14 takes place Saturday, May 10, when a fearsome wolf threatens orchestra and audience alike in “Peter and the Wolf,” featuring Magic Circle Mime Co. and Symphony musicians as characters of the story, bringing Prokofiev’s exhilarating musical tale to life.