Sounds of the season — symphony style

Unless you’ve got enough children to comprise brass, woodwind, string and percussion sections — or a toddler well trained in banging pots and pans to musical effect — you’ll want to enjoy other sources of symphonic sound.

So here’s a sampling of seasonal concerts featuring local symphonies, along with several related books you might enjoy reading with your children…

The Chandler Symphony Orchestra presents a holiday fundraising concert Sun, Dec 5, in Sun Lakes.

I’m told that “a local four year old YouTube star Jonathan E. Okseniuk will be performing with [them] on violin that day as well as conducting in March for [their] ‘Youthful Genius’ concert.” Here’s a link to his YouTube performance:

The Tempe Symphony Orchestra performs a holiday concert Mon, Dec 6, in Tempe.

Symphony of the Southwest presents a holiday concert Sat, Dec 11, in Mesa.

Phoenix Youth Symphony presents a holiday fundraiser Fri, Dec 3, at the Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale.

Phoenix Allegro presents a holiday luncheon and silent auction to benefit the Phoenix Symphony Mon, Dec 13, at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix.

The Phoenix Symphony presents several holiday concerts in December, including “Home for the Holidays” featuring the ASU Choral Union, conducted by Robert Moody, Dec 3-5 at Symphony Hall in Phoenix.

Other Phoenix Symphony holiday offerings include a “Candlelight Messiah” with the Phoenix Symphony Baroque Ensemble, a “Handel’s Messiah Sing-A-Long” with the Phoenix Symphony Chorus, and a “Handel’s Messiah” with soloists.

A “Target Family Special Event Concert” titled “Deck the Halls” takes place Sat, Dec 4, at 2:30pm. The Phoenix Symphony describes it as “a magical stageshow designed for children of all ages, led by Conductor Bob Moody and featuring members of the Phoenix Boys Choir.”

“Symphony Hall will be transformed into a magical wonderland with music from your favorite holiday tunes. Get your photo taken with Santa, and enjoy the pre-show party in the lobby including entertainment, arts and craft activities and refreshments.”

I often took my children to symphony performances when they were younger, and each went on to study both piano and another instrument — flute, saxophone or violin.

Lizabeth studied and performed violin from kindergarten through high school. To this day, it’s left her more appreciative than most of the time and talent it takes to create music and other forms of art. 

Although she’s chosen a career in theater rather than classical music, the gifts of music study will last her a lifetime — and help her support the arts as an audience member.

Some perform. Some compose. Some teach. Some listen. But it takes all of us to keep the music going.

— Lynn

Note: Books about music and other forms of art make great holiday gifts, so check gift shops at performing arts venues and museums (including the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix) for unique holiday gift selections.

Coming up: Celebrating Christmas — choral style, From story to stage, Celebrating the arts while ringing in the New Year

Event alert: “An Evening with Joshua Bell & Jeremy Denk to Benefit MIM” takes place Fri, Nov 26, at 7:30pm. Their recital will be followed by a ‘meet the artist’ opportunity — plus an elegant dessert and cocktail reception. Tickets: $200. Learn more at



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