The Longview Symphony has something for everyone Sunday, in a double feature designed to reach its youngest audiences and most faithful followers.
On Sunday, the symphony’s conductor, Maestro Jerry Steichen, will take his spot at the piano alongside principal musicians from the symphony for two community chamber concerts. First, a 2 p.m. concert promises a family friendly, interactive musical experience for children.
“We are going to play instruments. Our bodies are going to become instruments. We are actually going to create a storm with clapping and stomping and whooshing,” Steichen said. “After the concert, everybody gets to play all the instruments, and we’re going to have punch and cookies.”
Then, that chamber music experience will be reset for an adult audience that evening. Both concerts take place downtown at the Longview Community Center, a smaller venue than the Belcher Center where the symphony’s concerts have been held in recent years.
“This is going to be a more intimate setting, where you get some really hands on information about the music,” said Niki Groce, the symphony’s executive director. The concert isn’t part of the season ticket lineup, but a separate event with tickets available for purchase at longviewsymphony.org .
Steichen, who said his degrees are actually in accompanying, loves performing on the piano and supporting the symphony’s principal musicians in that way. He’ll use the concerts to tell people about the music they’ll hear. Also, audience members will have a chance to hear “incredible soloists” in a way they don’t usually hear the musicians when they’re performing as part of their section.
Featured musicians are Sarah Highland on bassoon, Jennifer Dalmas on violin, Christina Guenther on flute, Evgeni Raychev on cello and Trent Weaver on oboe.
“Chamber music is really hearing (the musicians) as soloists ....” Steichen said. “And so my approach to both concerts is, we’re just kind of in my living room and we’re going to talk about our favorite pieces of music. It’s really an intimate conversation between musicians and the people who love listening to them.”
Separate programs cater to the different audiences. Groce said the concerts also are shorter then the normal two-hour symphony performances and will run a little more than an hour.
The children’s concert will feature tunes they’ll recognize, such as “Deep in the Heart of Texas,” and music from “Peter and the Wolf,” “Harry Potter” and Disney tunes. Steichen will perform Scott Joplin’s “Maple Leaf Rag” on piano.
Steichen said he wants to hear the children’s unpredictable, candid reactions to the music.
“It’s Uncle Jerry,” introducing them to the instruments, he said. “What could be more fun?”
The instrument petting zoo following the concert is provided in cooperation with Mitch Moehring Strings and Mundt Music.
“It’s definitely a really unique thing,” Groce said, designed to ignite a love of music in children.
The 7 p.m. concert Sunday is “a grown up chamber concert,” featuring all possible combinations of the instruments and an “around the world” overview of chamber music, Steichen said.
Selections are from Johannes Brahms’ “Piano Trio No. 1 in B Major” for piano, violin and cello; Mozart’s “Sonata in B flat Major” for bassoon and cello; and a tango by Astor Piazzolla Libertango, among others. One of the pieces, a trio for flute, oboe and piano, is by Madeleine Dring, who wrote music primarily for marionette theater, Steichen said.
Steichen’s goal with this concert is for audience members in Longview to get to know their symphony’s musicians, to appreciate them as individual musicians, he said.
The concert will end with a reception and opportunity to meet the performers.