Portland Columbia Symphony Orchestra to back puppet show
by: Contributed graphic, The Portland Columbia Symphony Orchestra will perform “Peter and the Wolf” at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 7, at Mt. Hood Community College.

In the late 1930s, the Soviet Union's Central Children's Theater commissioned Sergei Prokofiev, the famed composer, to write a musical symphony just for children.

The authorities wanted to cultivate 'musical tastes in children from the first years of school,' according to In just four days, Prokofiev responded with 'Peter and the Wolf,' which has since become a children's classic. The narrated symphony relates the tale of Peter's efforts to capture a wolf.

Gresham resident Rachel Anderson, personnel director for The Portland Columbia Symphony Orchestra, notes 'Peter and the Wolf' 'is a great piece for everyone.'

'It's easily accessible for young people,' she says, adding it's 'a great introduction to classical music for kids and even adults that might not be familiar with classical music, but it's also good, legitimate classical music.'

The orchestra will present 'Peter and the Wolf' along with holiday favorites at its Holiday Gift of Music concert 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 7, at Mt. Hood Community College Theater.

The nationally acclaimed Tears of Joy Theatre in Portland created the production's elaborate puppets.

Erin Winemiller of Gresham, a cellist with the orchestra, says the most challenging part of the piece is 'trying not to become too distracted by what the puppeteers are doing!' Like Anderson, she believes 'Peter and the Wolf' appeals to many generations.

'I think that for many people 'Peter and the Wolf' holds a lot of nostalgia because it was music they grew up listening too, especially around the holidays,' she says. 'For others it is something completely new and different, a piece of classical music that brings the characters to life in a vivid way.'

Sara Pyne of Boring plays violin, and says: 'I love to see the expression on the children's faces as they listen to the music. They just mirror the tone of the music, the excitement. They're just fun to watch.'

Prior to the concert, at 2 p.m. the Community Music Center from Portland will host an 'instrument petting zoo,' according to Shelly Williams, operations manager for the orchestra. The zoo allows children 'to bang, blow and strum all kinds of instruments,' she says. Art will also be on display from local students.

The second half of the concert features holiday favorites including a carol sing-a-along and soloists from the Portland Symphonic Girlchoir.

Anderson says she's glad her orchestra is performing Prokofiev's piece for youngsters.

'It's really great to be able to share the beauty and fun of music with young people and introduce them to a whole new world.'

Children's classic

WHAT - 'Peter and the Wolf'

WHEN - 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 7

WHERE - Mt. Hood Community College, 26000 S.E. Stark St.

HOW MUCH - $10 for adults and seniors. Students and children free.

INFO - Tickets available by phone at 503-234-4077, at the door, or on the Web site

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