I love Family Fun Days in the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra or MPO for short. It means a time of bonding with my boys while enjoying quality, classical music. For this event, I went with Jordan who’s now 7 and he’s loved the orchestra since he was a baby.
Led by charismatic conductor Jessica Gethin, we were swiftly dancing through an hour of story telling through short skits and ballet. Usually, conductors enter the stage from the side door and promptly takes their place on center stage. Australian-born Jessica, well known for her vibrant energy an stage presence, definitely caught us unaware as she entered from the back of the hall, immediately portraying the storyteller that held the crowd’s attention with the wave of her ‘magic’ wand.
I was excited to see the ballet dancers, being about Tutus, I expect there will be a few. What I didn’t expect was some of them would be even younger than my boys. The ballet dancers were led by Tatiana Gounar from Russia, a ballet teacher herself. Poised and graceful, she definitely was the star of most of the pieces, from The Swan Lake, Nutcracker Suite to The Sleeping Beauty.
Being a Family Fun Day Show, there was always a sense of fun in the story. In came The Toad, played by 14-year-old Rinat Engalychev, the only boy in the line-up. Rinat played the awkward Toad really well and really interacted with the audience. Being Mother’s Day that afternoon, the hall was packed with mums and daughters, some even in their own Tutus.
The other young dancers we Kamila Madzlan, Maria Kuwata and the cutest 5-year-old Aya Akhmetova. All the dancers were well accomplished themselves having joined many cultural festivals and Arts Festival in Russia and Malaysia. It’s quite amazing considering their really tender ages.
Near the end of the hour, Jessica invited anyone from the audience to come up to the stage to dance together. To the delight of many parents and their daughters, the audience get to learn a step or two from the professional dancers. Some girls were also selected to perform on stage. It was definitely a fun and worthwhile time for all families to learn about the orchestra and how to enjoy it as a family.
For more information, Website: www.mpo.com.my