My dad and most of the Verdés side of the family grew up playing multiple instruments. He loved, loved, loved any kind of music, but was an afficionado of classical and played both the piano and the cello.

As much as I love my salsa music, oldies, and classic rock, I love listening to classical when I'm working on an art project. I think it soothes the nerves and helps me relax enough to tap into my right-brain creative self.

So you can imagine my delight when I received an invitation to visit the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles to hear the LA Philharmonic (that's the LA Phil to us cool people) perform Mendelssohn's Mystical Landscapes. This concert is part of their Toyota Symphonies for Youth series at the hall.

The LA Phil advertises this family-friendly series as one that makes symphonic music come alive for kids.

3 of us at the Disney Concert Hall

From the LA Phil website:

When the young Felix Mendelssohn sets out on his first adventure to Scotland, his beloved sister Fanny is heartbroken that she has to stay home. Fanny breathlessly awaits Felix's letters, which sometimes include lines of new music. And through his music -- inspired by crumbling castles, lively bagpipes, violent ocean waves, and the enchanted Fingal's Cave -- Fanny is transported to her brother's side. If we really listen, we get to go to these mystical lands, too.

The ultimate family event, combining fun and fantasy, makes the LA Phil part of your child’s wonderful world. Led by the LA Phil’s Dudamel Conducting Fellows and directed by theater artists, this series of captivating orchestral concerts will give your children (ages 5-11) the opportunity to create memories they’ll never forget.

My "youths" are 15 and 18, but they were completely delighted (as I was) with the entire program.

Jon & lucy

Before the concert there were art, dance, craft, and storytelling workshops.


But our hands-down (hands-on?) favorite was the Instrument Petting Zoo where the kids were encouraged to touch and play (Hey! That works on two levels!) with the musical instruments.

Instrument petting zoo

The Walt Disney Concert Hall is that crazy, space-age, jaw-droppingly-beautiful building in Downtown Los Angeles.

Walt disney concert hall

It would be worth a trip to LA just to experience the magic and majesty of the place.

Jon at concert hall

But the music. Ah, the music...

My kids were definitely the two oldest at this event, but they're both musicians so they were able to appreciate the beauty of it all. They were captivated by the program, by the hall, and of course, by the Instrument Petting Zoo. ;-)

Could this boy look any happier?


Mendelssohn's Mystical Landscapes will be performed again this coming Saturday, November 12th, 2011. Click here for details and tickets.


We are already making plans to return for other events at the hall - Hello, Handel's Messiah Sing-along (!) Extra coolness points - the concerts are awesomely affordable for families.

And the exposure to such beautiful music in such an amazing setting definitely impacted us personally.

Jon on violin

Jonathan: "Mom, I might need to get a violin."

See what I mean?

{A special thank you to the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the LA Phil, the Toyota Symphonies for Youth, and alPunto Advertising for the wonderful musical memories.}