The Magic That Goes Into SSO Babies’ Proms
I remember thinking at my very first Babies Proms rehearsal in 2002, “Would these extraordinary musicians be willing to support me in my lifelong quest to make the first experience of very young children hearing a full symphony orchestra so positive, that they could not wait to return? Would the people in charge of the orchestra allow children to conduct the orchestra, and even come on stage as the orchestra played?”
Well, I remember being overwhelmed by the sheer spirit of the orchestra, and more than a little relieved that everyone felt it was worth a go.
I remember at the first concert being delighted at the musicians’ smiling faces as they were conducted with great enthusiasm by a child all of four years old.
Perhaps as important and even more surprising has been the response of the parents, who, without fail, get really involved in the activities of the concert. Even more surprising are the parents who tell me this is their 2nd 3rd 4th or even 5th year of Babies Proms. I can only smile in amazement.
I also smile in amazement when I think that the “okay” was given to allow as many children as possible actually on to the stage to go and stand next to their favourite instrument while the orchestra played the final pieces of the concert. This is quite almost unheard of with a professional orchestra and is yet another reason to thank the musicians of the SSO. I have always felt that every musician clearly understands the importance of encouraging children to be involved with classical music and in so doing help to nurture the future of something we all consider so vital.
I am well aware of the team effort and extraordinary support needed to make any concert, let alone Babies’ Proms, with their particular requirements, a success. I can only say that every one of the concerts during the past 15 years has been met with total professionalism, generosity of time and support, as well as simple encouragement.
I have been thinking about what I would say if asked about my most memorable or satisfying moment during the years of the Babies’ Proms. Would it be the hundreds of children who have come on stage and conducted? Would it be the delighted parents who come and say “hello” at the end, or would it be the smiling players and staff at the end of another rewarding series? It could well be any of these. However, if really pushed, I think it would be how lucky I have been when I think about the number of times that a musician in the orchestra has said “I’ve brought my own children and some of their friends to the concert.” For me there is no greater sense of doing something really worthwhile.
Singapore Symphony Orchestra, take a bow.
Peter Moore (or “Uncle Peter”) is the conductor for SSO Babies’ Proms, which began in 2002.