Tag Archives: Chandler Symphony

Chandler tales

I’ve long suspected there was at least one cub reporter in my midst. Sure enough, my 17-year-old daughter Lizabeth is showing clear signs.

Before heading out to the Ostrich Festival in Chandler Sunday afternoon, Lizabeth asked if she could take my camera along. We gave the battery a quick charge and off she went — with a couple of goals in mind.

First, to meet a young actor from the Nickelodeon television show titled “iCarly” who was making a guest appearance at the event — a plan she wisely abandoned after seeing the line that appeared to be several blocks long.

Lizabeth did the mental math, and soon realized that waiting hours for a few seconds of time and a quickie autograph was a high investment/low yield enterprise.

Second, she wanted to get her fix of cute (and even not so cute) animals. Ostrich races. Pig races. And sea lions clever enough to avoid the racing gig altogether. Mission accomplished there — and more. Think goats, cattle, emus, sheep, water buffalo and yaks.

Lizabeth came home eager to share her photos (which I’ve assembled for the slide show below). Many evidence her offbeat sense of humor. The photos of signs and a recycling bin suggest she’s been either channeling or mocking me. Sometimes it’s hard to tell.

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I was impressed by her keen reporting of the events — and her wit in recounting them. Knowing attention to detail is important to the journalism craft, I asked her what types of food were available at the festival. Her answer was simple and plenty accurate: “Fried.”

I was sorry I’d asked when Lizabeth offered further details. Hot dogs on a stick. Pizza on a stick. Fry bread. Funnel cakes. Snowcones. Catfish. Even ostrich burgers. “That,” she quipped, “must be what happens to the losers.”

Apparently the pig races were particularly amusing — largely because the pigs belonged to various groups with names like “Hollywood pigs,” “Rock & pop pigs,” “Country pigs,” and “Political pigs.”

Seems one of the “political pigs” (dubbed “John McPig”) had a hard time deciding which starting box to enter as his race drew near. I’m told he tried the boxes of each of his opponents before wandering off, only to be redirected by a race official to his designated stall.

But alas, there’s nothing artsy about an ostrich or pig race — so check out some of these cultural events coming soon to Chandler if they’re more your style:

Chandler-Gilbert Community College Performing Arts presents an original CGCC production titled “Get a Life” March 24-27 at the Arnette Scott Ward Performing Arts Center.

The Chandler Symphony Orchestra presents a concert coupled with a food drive (as part of the 2011 Orchestras Feeding America program sponsored by the League of American Orchestras) March 27 at the Chandler Center for the Arts.

The East Valley Jewish Community Center (in partnership with the City of Chandler and Chandler Unified School District) presents a film titled “An Article of Hope” April 5 at the Chandler Center for the Arts.

The Chandler Children’s Choir presents “Summer Camp 2011” June 13-17 (for ages 6-16) at Tri-City Baptist Church in Chandler.

Enjoy your time in Chandler — and be thankful your kids have yet to come up with the idea of parent races.

— Lynn

Note: Watch the daily online calendar of events at www.raisingarizonakids.com for ongoing news of upcoming events with a family-focus in the Valley and throughout the state.

Coming up: Thoughts of Japan


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:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0REJ-lCGiKU.

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 www.themim.org.


“The Nutcracker” on Valley stages

Enjoy the "Nutcracker Ballet" Nov 26-27 at the Peoria Center for the Performing Arts

I’ve attended every production of Ballet Arizona’s “The Nutcracker” — now an Ib Andersen piece — since my children were tiny.

Two of them, Jennifer and Lizabeth, have danced in the production — which means I’ve also logged plenty of “Stage Mom” hours at Symphony Hall.

I’ve tied party girl bows, adjusted angel wings, placed red stickers on the cheeks of toy soldiers, even helped children don mouse heads. It’s always a joy.

“The Nutcracker Party” presented by Ballet Arizona features dance, children’s activities and other family-friendly festivities

This season, Ib Andersen’s “The Nutcracker” will be performed by Ballet Arizona Dec 10-26. Their annual “The Nutcracker Party” takes place Dec 5 at the Camelback Inn, and Dec 9 has been designated a special “Angel Night.”

Those eager to get a jump on the holiday season can enjoy a “Nutcracker Sweet Tea” on Nov 20 in Queen Creek, or see the Ballet Etudes production of “The Nutcracker” Nov 26-Dec 5 at the Chandler Center for the Performing Arts. They’ll perform at the Mesa Arts Center Dec 10-12.

Paradise Valley Community College is proud to share that 15 of their students will perform Nov 26-28 in the Ballet and Friends and Master Ballet Academy production of “The Nutcracker” at the Herberger Theater Center in Phoenix. The performances benefit the “Toys for Tots” program.

Theater Works and Ballet Academy of Arizona present their “Nutcracker Ballet” Nov 26-27 at the Peoria Center for the Performing Arts. Theater Works notes that “children will perform in New York City Ballet costumes.”

Those who’ve enjoyed the work of Ballet Arizona will remember dancer Yen-Li Chen, who once danced with the company but now serves as artistic director for Southwest Youth Ballet.

Their production of “The Nutcracker,” featuring music by the Chandler Symphony Orchestra, takes place Dec 17-18 at the Higley Center for the Performing Arts.

Southwest Youth Ballet performs "The Nutcracker" featuring music by the Chandler Symphony Orchestra

Like the many dances in “The Nutcracker” — featuring Russian, Arabian and Chinese dancers — each production of this timeless Tchaikovsky piece has its own special flavor.

You wouldn’t eat just a single bon bon, so why settle for seeing just one performance of “The Nutcracker” when there are so many treats to try this time of year.

Experience “The Nutcracker” early and often — it’s a magical piece of theater that your children are likely to remember, and cherish, for a lifetime.

— Lynn

Note: If your Arizona school or organization is presenting “The Nutcracker” this season, feel free to share brief details with our readers in the “comment” section below. Comprehensive listings of holiday-related and other family-friendly events are always available in the print and e-zine editions of Raising Arizona Kids magazine.

Coming up: More holiday dance delights, Valley theaters present holiday productions from classic to contemporary, Music of the season

Dracula, catwalks and Celtic fusion

Dance meets fashion. Moms with pens meet the podium. Richard III and Dracula meet their fate. Latino art and music meet enthusiastic audiences. It’s all part of another Valley weekend rich in arts and culture.

These are some of your choices for quality grown-up or family-friendly time with the arts…


Chandler-Gilbert Community College Performing Arts Department presents “Student Dance Showcase” Friday, May 7 & 8 at 8pm. Arnette Scott Ward Performing Arts Center in Chandler. 480-732-7343 or www.cgc.edu/arts.

CONDER/dance presents “Dance for Camera: Dance Film Fest” Saturday, May 8 at 8pm. Short dance films created by local and national filmmakers. Tempe Center for the Arts. 480-350-2822 or http://www.tempe.gov/TCA/.

Scorpius Dance Theatre presents “Catwalk” through Sunday, May 9 (times vary). Original contemporary dance production fusing funky local fashions, sexy athleticism, and choreography by Lisa Starry. Phoenix Theatre (staged on a Little Theatre runway). 602-254-2151 or www.scorpiusdance.com.


Chamber Music Sedona presents “Sedona Bluegrass Festival” through Sunday, May 9 (times vary). Creekside at Los Abrigados. 928-204-2415 or www.chambermusicsedona.org.

Hoodlums Music & Movies presents “Hoodstock 2010: Two Days of Rock & Art to Help Kids” Friday, May 7 and Saturday, May 8 (times vary). Hoodlums in Tempe (with participating merchants). 480-775-2722 or www.hoodlumsmusic.com.


Tempe Center for the Arts presents “Border Film Festival” Friday, May 7 and Saturday/Sunday, May 8 & 9 (times vary). Features five of Paul Espinosa’s award-winning documentaries for PBS exploring the history and culture of the Southwestern border region (followed by moderated discussion with Espinosa and humanities scholar). Free admission. 480-350-2822 or www.tempe.gov/tca/calendar.


Chandler Symphony presents “Sound from the Southwest-Music of Hispanic Composers” Friday, May 7 at 7:30pm. Chandler Center for the Arts. 480-899-3447 or www.chandlersymphony.org.

Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts presents “Outdoor Desert Sky Series: Solas & Bearfoot” Saturday, May 8 at 7:30pm. Features Celtic fusion of Irish, folk and country music with “jazzy improvisation and global rhythms.” Scottsdale Civic Center Amphitheater. 480-994-2787 or www.scottsdaleperformingarts.org.

Southwest Symphony presents “From Paris…With Love” Saturday, May 8 at 2:30pm. Mesa Arts Center. 480-644-6500 or www.mesaartscenter.com.


Desert Hills High School Theatre Department presents “Dracula: The Musical?” Through May 8 at 7pm. Mesa Arts Center. 480-644-6500 or www.mesaartscenter.com.

Mesa Arts Center presents “Penn and Teller” Friday, May 7 at 8pm. Features unique combination of magic and comedy. Mesa Arts Center. 480-644-6500 or www.mesaartscenter.com.

Southwest Shakespeare Company presents “Richard III” through Saturday, May 8. Mesa Arts Center. 480-644-6500 or www.mesartscenter.com (Read “Stage Mom” review in tomorrow’s post).

Visual Art

Artlink Phoenix presents “First Friday” May 7 6-10pm. Tour more than 70 galleries, venues and art-related spaces via free shuttles or self-guided map. Tours start at Phoenix Art Museum. 602-256-7539 or www.artlinkphoenix.com.

The City of Phoenix presents “Opening Reception: Arte Latino en la Ciudad” Friday, May 7 from 6-8pm. Phoenix Center for the Arts. 602-262-4627 or www.phoenix.gov.


Mothers Who Write presents the “8th Annual Mother Who Write/Mothers Who Read Mothers Day Weekend Reading” Saturday, May 8 at 2pm. Scottsdale Center for the Arts. Current/former students read their work. Admission free but some material may not be suitable for children. www.motherswhowrite.com.

Additional activities (including several children’s theater productions) are noted on the Raising Arizona Kids online calendar. Please check with presenting venues and companies before attending to confirm event date/time, recommended ages, location and cost.


Note: If you’re excited about an event we didn’t have room to mention here, feel free to comment briefly below to let our readers know.

Coming up: Roald Dahl makes his way to two Valley theater productions

Show & tell (top to bottom): Poster for CGCC Student Dance Showcase, Poster for Hoodlum’s Hoodstock, Photo of Solas (coming to Scottsdale Center for the Arts), Photo of Penn and Teller (coming to Mesa Arts Center) and Painting of Richard III (who no doubt sends his regrets because he’s dead)