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VSO Kids’ Koncerts

Posted on Oct 27, 2014

First of all, let me say a huge THANK YOU to follower Bonnie who kindly offered me 4 tickets to this event. I have always wanted to go, but could never afford to take my kids. I was absolutely delighted when she messaged me and it was SO nice to finally meet her in person! What a sweetheart!

Before I became a parent, I always thought I’d do/not do certain things. I thought I’d play classical music to them while they were still in the womb, I’d use cloth diapers from birth, I’d insist on eating around the dinner table every night, and my kids would sleep in their own beds. BAAAHAHAHAHAHA!

So I do what I can to expose my kids to normalcy and the world. With limited resources, I rely a lot on tv to teach my kids about other cultures (Ni Hao Kai-lan) and music (Little Einsteins), animals (Wild Kratts) and so many other things (Bubble Guppies). But remember being a kid? Remember seeing a flute, hearing the bassoon, feeling the vibrations from the drums? SO COOL! Inspiring! Fascinating! I was so excited for my kids to see the instruments and see them being played.

Have you ever taken your kids to the VSO Kids’ Koncerts? If you have, maybe your experience was different. Maybe your kids were older, or more refined, or it just went great. Well, like Vegas, it blew.

Three things in particular blew it for me:

1) the area where they let the children touch and play the instruments was small, and the lineups were huge. People were pushing their kids through lines, butting in, and dragging kids around. We waited 15 minutes in a line to see/hold a flute. I offered to take my son to the colouring table (where I thought they were just colouring pictures, but no, they were writing notes on lined paper for musicians to play! Seriously??), but no, he insisted he wanted to see the flute. So we stood there in this snail’s pace line for 15 minutes, as my 4 year old whined that it was taking too long and hung from my arm, knocked into people and lay on the ground.

2) when we were at our seats, my husband took our son to the washroom so we wouldn’t have to leave during the show. While they were gone, an older lady seated behind my daughter leaned over and tapped her on the shoulder. She said “don’t put your feet on the seat”. My daughter looked at me, and I could see she was extremely embarrassed and ashamed. I didn’t know what to say, so I just shrugged. I understand why the lady did it. She’s from an age and class where you don’t allow your children to be children. They are to be seen and not heard, they are to follow rules and sit still. But my daughter had just spent the last hour walking around in the CARPETED lobby, where I assure you, anything that was on her shoes had been rubbed into the carpet. No, she still shouldn’t have had her shoes on the seat, but I was too busy admonishing her for having her finger in her nose to take notice of where her feet were!!! *fume*

3) as soon as the koncert started, my 4 year old started to whine. Is it over? When will it be over? Why is that light flashing? I want to go home! I held him in my lap, hoping he’d fall asleep, but he wiggled incessantly to the point I was worried he would bother the people in front and beside us. So we moved. I looked behind us – we were seated in the upper balcony – and behind the rail there was no one. The attendees ended 2 rows behind us, the rest of the theater beyond that was empty. Completely. Empty. So I whisked our son up, beyond the railing, to the totally, completely, and utterly empty balcony. I sat there for a good 10 minutes while my son whined, wiggled, complained, and begged to leave. I thought ignoring him and enjoying the show would make him fall asleep. Nope. So I picked up my phone and decided to check twitter. No sooner had I opened my Twitter app than an usher came over and said “can I ask that you put that away until the end of the show?” What? There’s no one within 50 feet of us – who is my phone bothering?! I huffed and dropped my phone into my purse. My son immediately started hitting me (hitting is absolutely NOT allowed in my house. Ever.) He hit me repeatedly, saying “I want to go home!”

Fed up, I got up, fetched my jacket from my previous seat, and stormed out with our son in tow. I marched out into the cool sunshine, with his little feet trying to keep up and his little hand reaching for my arm. I was so mad, I could barely speak. We couldn’t leave, so we walked up to Granville and went to the Old Navy on the next corner. Have you been to that Old Navy?? It is the BEST! Never busy, and great deals to be had. As soon as we got to the kids’ section, I started to calm down and let go – it really wasn’t a big deal, I was only angry because it didn’t meet my expectations of the experience.

The show itself was lovely, aside from the fact that they only spoke to the audience in the lower sections, the ones they could see. Not once did any of the musicians look up into the balcony. But the music was great, the special guests were impressive, and I really, really tried to enjoy myself!

Afterwards, my husband and I had the same observation: most of the kids that we saw were NOT enjoying themselves. There were TONS of kids there with their grandparents, and if you’ve ever sent your kids there with your parents/in-laws, I’ll bet they never wanted to go again. The grandparents were pushy, impatient, and stuffy. The kids looked miserable. As miserable as mine!

So thank you, dear Bonnie, for allowing us to experience this. Now I can cross it off my list, and maybe revisit it again when my kids are older. Way older. My daughter enjoyed the bassoon the most, so maybe it sparked something in her. We’ll see.