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MSO welcomes families

April 29, 2002|BY KATE COLEMAN

katec@herald-mail.com

There was more than the music of Mozart at the Maryland Symphony Orchestra's family concert Saturday at The Maryland Theatre in Hagerstown.

There were mimes, and moms.

There were dads, too, and grandparents and children - lots of children.

Dawn Sirface listened to the last half of the concert from the back of The Maryland Theatre. She was accompanied by her son, Augustine, an energetically but quietly squirming 9-month-old. He seemed to enjoy the Mozart as his mother bounced, swayed and danced with him through the "Don Giovanni" opera overture and the fourth movement of the composer's Symphony No. 41.

Sirface's family recently moved to Hagerstown from England, and Sirface thought the family concert would be a good way to introduce Augustine and her four older children - ages 15, 13, 10 and 5 - to the orchestra she had heard good things about.

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"I thought it was really good. I liked the music," said Mitchell Sirface, 10.

"The Mozart Experience" is a creation of The Magic Circle Mime Co., which consists of Doug MacIntyre and Maggie Petersen.

MSO Music Director Elizabeth Schulze and her orchestra had roles to play in the production. The musicians mugged and moaned, hamming it up as well as playing their instruments.

There was laughter - from young as well as adult voices - reacting to the broad comic bits.

Mostly there was music - Mozart's - and Schulze slipped a lot of information in between the comedy.

"You were just playing his music," Schulze told Maggie the mime when she held her nose at the prospect of Mozart. Maggie's "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" on the piano had become the composer's "Ah! vous dirai-je, Maman" performed by the musicians.

Schulze wondered if Maggie might be jealous of Mozart because there were "Mostly Mozart" festivals but no "Mostly Maggie" festivals. Schulze said Maggie, like Mozart, was "stubborn and rebellious."

Baritone Tianxu Zhou, dressed in a cape of many colors, sang Papageno's Aria from "The Magic Flute." Schulze called him the "original Big Bird."

Mozart also was a wonderful violinist. Since Maggie couldn't play the violin, Marissa Murphy, the MSO's principal second violin, soloed on the first movement of Violin Concerto No. 5 K.219 in A Major.

"The family concert is wonderful for the community," said Darlene Stojak.

She and her husband, Jim, have been season ticketholders for 13 years.

Saturday's concert was not the first MSO performance for their daughter, Jessica, 12.

"It was really good," Jessica said.

Five-year-old Sierra Badley of Berkeley Springs, W.Va., attended Saturday's performance with her parents, a friend and five siblings ages 8 months to 13 years. She liked "Mostly Maggie."

Why?

"'Cause she was funny," she said, laughing.

"It's a great way to spend a Saturday with the family," said Jim Stojak.

Dawn Sirface joked that she might go home to take a nap after a performance with her son, but she liked the concert.

"We'll definitely be back," she said.

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