The Houston Symphony Orchestra played host to thousands of music lovers at the third annual Houston Symphony Day of Music. Young and old alike turned out for this free multi-stage event last Sunday in downtown Houston.
Concerts included a special visit from the Colombian Youth Philharmonic, an internationally lauded social project that has proven wildly successful if judging by the musicianship clearly exemplified by Sunday afternoon‘s performance on the main stage of Jones Hall. The young orchestra performed Part I and II of Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring.” Lest we forget the context of the work as a ballet, the young orchestra danced in their seats with the passion of the music. This exceptional charisma was met with a full house’s standing ovation, long enough to evoke a gorgeous choral-infused encore.
The day’s performances featured music of every flavor, from djembe-based percussion to Tejano to traditional Indian to blues and much more. Lobby areas around the hall bustled with children eager to try instruments at the musical “petting zoo,” have their faces painted or request a balloon animal. In a less than subtle message to adult attendees, the hall was also filled with tables selling admittance to the upcoming 2015-2016 concert season.
Downtown Houston and the Houston Symphony Orchestra should consider the day a victory, no matter how many season passes or tickets to future events were sold. Through events like these, the arts community gains lifelong devotees, inspires future musicians and exposes the public to cultures they might never have encountered otherwise. It is an educational service as much as a promotional event.
Those attending should take pride as well. By showing out in droves, Houston makes a statement to the world about true Texas culture. Texans are arts supporters and performers of the highest quality. To assume anything less based on ill-informed stereotypes is to miss the heart of Texas itself. Thanks to the Houston Symphony Day of Music and countless similar events, the world may see the truth about the musical Lone Star State.