World-renowned music in an iconic landmark
The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO) is a world-renowned orchestra right here in the Cincinnati region. The CSO was founded in 1895, which makes it the sixth-oldest orchestra in the United States. The Orchestra's 2019-2020 season celebrates its 125th anniversary (click here for upcoming performances). Cincinnati is the smallest city in the nation that still supports a full-time, 52-week orchestra. The internationally acclaimed CSO attracts the best musicians, artists and conductors from around the world. With new commissions and groundbreaking initiatives like LUMENOCITY, One City, One Symphony, The Pelléas Trilogy, and the MusicNOW Festival collaboration, the Orchestra is committed to being a place of experimentation.
The legendary Cincinnati Music Hall at the corner of 14th and Elm in the historic Over-the-Rhine neighborhood serves as home for both the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Cincinnati Pops. The historic landmark possesses one of the largest and best-equipped stages in the world and has undergone a huge renovation that revealed historic details, added increased lounge space, while also improving safety, accessibility, and enhancing restrooms and concessions for visitors.
Popular music by the Pops Orchestra
The Cincinnati Pops (POPS) started playing popular music in 1977. The POPS – which also performs as the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra – presents a diverse array of musical styles, all bathed in the world-renowned “Cincinnati Sound.” That sound comes from Broadway, musical movies, American roots music, or even a brand-new song burning up the charts. The POPS have been featured on the billboard charts more than 50 times. They have collaborated with some of the best musicians such as Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald, Ben Folds, Vanessa Williams, Peter Frampton, Indigo Girls, Grace Potter, and many more!
According to Meghan Berneking, Director of Communications at the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, “One of the elements that makes a live concert experience so unique and special is the community. There’s an atmosphere in the air that only comes when a couple of thousand people are together in a space experiencing the same thing together. Even if you’ve never met or spoken to the people seated in the hall with you, you are together changed by what you hear and see on stage. And the electricity that comes from the audience absolutely impacts the musicians on stage.”
Start ‘em young!
The Lollipops Family Concert series is perfectly suited for families with kids ages 2-10. Each of these concerts is about an hour in length and gets the audiences participating while being introduced to a variety of music, from Mozart to Pharrell Williams.
What to expect? Expect a lot of very excited youngsters! Parents should plan to arrive early to allow plenty of time to explore all of the activities in the family fun zone. Each of the activities will help prepare kids for the concert experience. While in the concert hall, normal concert etiquette is relaxed, though active listening and participation are encouraged. Many parents are surprised when even very young children are enthralled by what’s happening on stage. For lots of kids, this is their first encounter with live music, and it’s always a joy to watch their eyes light up in that moment.
Families with older children (ages six and up) find that attending a CSO or POPS concert is a great activity that engages every member of the family, regardless of age. While older children and teenagers (or even adults) may not be as familiar with some of the repertoire, they can bring a whole new perspective to the concert experience. Each CSO concert program dedicates a section of the program notes to a short listening guide that provides a few nuggets about the music to give audience members – especially newcomers – a few tidbits to help them engage with the music. There are also questions to discuss on the way home, which is perfect for prompting family conversations about the music and beyond.