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Symphony concert features kids' art

Youngsters’ artworks will be projected on a screen behind the Billings Symphony Orchestra during its performance of Nielsen’s “Aladdin Suite” on Saturday. The artworks were created by more than 250 Billings-area schoolchildren.

The Billings Symphony Orchestra presents “Russian Days & Arabian Nights,” a symphonic exhibition that features hundreds of artworks created by local children, Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Alberta Bair Theater.

Concert Cues, an interactive discussion of the evening’s musical selections led by Marvin Granger, begins at 6:45 p.m. and is free to all ticket holders.

The artistic talents of more than 250 local students will be showcased as their art is projected behind the orchestra during Carl Nielsen’s “Aladdin Suite,” with its exotic melodies painting a colorful picture of ancient Arabia. Completing the concert is Sergei Prokofiev’s victorious “Symphony No. 5.” Anne Harrigan conducts.

All of the art submitted can be viewed on the symphony’s website, www.billingssymphony.org.

Also on Saturday, the BSO presents its annual Adventures in Music (AiM) day from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at various locations in downtown Billings.

Following AiM festivities, participating families will be able to present their AiM “passports” at the Yellowstone Art Museum to receive free admittance.

School-aged children can discover the joy of music through workshops and demonstrations held at the Babcock Theater, Hart Albin (D.A. Davidson) Building, MSU Billings Downtown Campus and at Alberta Bair Theater (ABT).

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In addition they will have the opportunity to meet Billings Mayor Tom Hanel and try out various instruments provided by Eckroth Music, Galt String Gallery, Hansen Music and Kirk House of Music during Instrument Petting Zoos.

AiM day participants may also attend a portion of the orchestra’s dress rehearsal for Saturday evening’s performance.

Through the support of the Homer & Mildred Scott Foundation and the Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation, free and discounted tickets to the concert were given to Title I schools in Billings.

The various travels and adventures of Aladdin are offered and allow Nielsen’s music to explore a number of exotic styles. “The Hindu Dance,” for instance, is a piece of Asian-Nordic fusion. Most remarkable of all is “The Marketplace in Ispahan,” where the conflicting sounds and aromas of a Turkish bazaar are represented in a musical collage. Sometimes, this music seems to say reality can be every bit as wonderful as dreams.

Within months of its American premiere, Prokofiev’s “Fifth Symphony” became so popular that a portrait of the composer was featured on the cover of Time magazine in November 1945. In a period when Russia and its people were still regarded as our allies in the victory over fascism, the symphony was a hit at home and abroad, the musical celebration of the war’s conclusion. Prokofiev said of his symphony, “I wanted to sing the praises of the free and happy human being — of such a person’s strength, generosity and purity of soul. I cannot say I chose this theme; it was born in me and had to express itself.”

For more information or to purchase tickets, call the Symphony office at (406) 252-3610 or visit www.billingssymphony.org. Ticket prices start at $10. Student discounts are available with a valid ID. A group discount is available for groups of 10 or more.

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Entertainment Reporter

Jaci Webb covers entertainment for The Billings Gazette.