|Powell Exterior by Alise O’Brien|
Yesterday we began a new tradition in our family, the magic of the St. Louis Symphony’s Holiday Celebration. My tot was so delighted that he talked about it for almost 24 hours and couldn’t wait to hear the carols, see Santa and wear his little suit. He looked very handsome!
We had a few hiccups along the way. One of them being that we left an hour early (living maybe 30 min away) and we were almost late! If you are going downtown during afternoon, evening or nighttime events on N Grand, you want to leave very early. Thankfully parking at the Powell Hall is uncomplicated and not cramped; we parked and made it in just in time. I hadn’t ever been to Powell Hall and even though I was in a rush, the moment I walked into the door I was taken aback by the splendor of it. It is incredibly stunning during the Holidays.
|Powell Hall Foyer by Todd Davis|
Although we were in a little bit of a hurry, my tot wanted to write his letter to Santa. Santa had a grand red velvet chair by a Christmas Tree, a table with postcards to the North Pole and an express red Mailbox. So we stopped in the hustle and bustle of everyone to write the letter to Santa. The beginning bells were ringing and my tot was signing “Dear Santa, I would like a bike…”
Once he was finished we went up the stairs to wait to be led to our seats. I had no idea our seats at this point and having never been to Powell Hall, couldn’t glean an idea of them, but when the hostess Alicia led us to our seats I could only say, “Wow” before my son’s favorite Christmas Song ‘Hark the Herald Angel’s Sing’ began to play.
|Powell Auditorium by Dan Dreyfus|
|Dress Circle – Row A 101-105|
|Taken with my phone during Intermission.|
We were right at the heart, looking down I could see everything in beautiful detail. I know my phone cam didn’t take a very good picture in that lightning, but you can grasp an idea of how amazing it looked from our seats.
I was quite impressed with the wit and humor of the conductor, Ward Stare. Although it was a formal event, he made it very casual for children with his lighthearted clever jokes and big smiles. The Holiday Festival Choras was outstanding, their harmonious voices ringing through the Hall and complimenting the Symphony exquisitely. I sat back, my tot at my side with wide eyes at the grandeur around him, and smiled. It was beautiful. There are not enough words to give to explain the feeling of the music entering my heart, my family beside me and the joy that enveloped me.
The Grammy Award Winner Debbie Boone was the special guest of the evening. It was unfortunate that she had lost her voice before making it to St. Louis, but I must say that I was astounded by the fact that she continued with the program and could actually sing like that! Perhaps it was not her best and I realize that she was straining for every note, but she pulled off a lounge style without a voice and you couldn’t help but have a lot of respect for that.
The fact that she lost her voice allowed for something really fun and entertaining to happen as well, she let people sing with her! You could tell that a lot of the audience was a little unsure about it, it is the Symphony after all and you are supposed to be quiet, but I could hear many people singing. The lady next to me softly sang each tune she played and I sang in my son’s ear, which he giggled at. I personally thought it was extraordinary, to be able to sing alongside Debbie Boone and the St. Louis Symphony with my son. I would have loved to have heard her be able to sing the sets with the power of her own voice, but it made the Holiday Celebration unique. I really enjoyed that.
During Intermission we walked hurriedly to be able to get photos with Santa before the lines began again. To make it easier for families, they have you write your name and take the photos but email you the proofs if you want to purchase rather than stand there waiting for your photos. My tot was too overwhelmed by everyone, the sights and the fact that Santa was talking to him that he didn’t smile in the photo, but the photographer had gotten a really great shot of him talking to Santa. I can’t wait to receive the proofs so that I can show you!
The people there are ever so friendly and two of them took our photo with my phone. It was just before this that I realized in my rushing around to get ready that I forgot the memory card to my camera. It was in my computer from working earlier and I had completely slipped on putting it back into the camera before we left! So I was unable to get the shots I really and truly wanted. Thankfully, they had these amazing photos in the Press Room on the St. Louis Symphony page to be able to share with you better clarity images.
|The Lights, gorgeous!|
Before we went back after Intermission, I grabbed a glass of wine and my son had gotten a piece of Snickers Cheesecake. I should have gotten a photo of his face when we sat down with that Cheesecake, he was clapping and so excited because he had cake. It was really cute!
|My guys, waiting for Intermission to end.|
There is something about having a glass of wine, the sound of the symphony ebbing and flowing around you, swirling with the harmony of voices that really put your heart at peace. I don’t think I’ve ever been so calm, so relaxed and happy since the Holiday’s have arrived than I was at that moment. It takes you away from all the stress, the hustle and bustle of shopping and carries you back to all that matters: your family, love and joy.
I wish I could have videotaped the entrance of Santa Claus. They started playing Sleigh Ride and all the sudden you heard hushed whispers, heads craned over the balconies and little children began to slide off their parents laps to look over the edge. Heads turned here and there, waiting and watching…. and then… as if out of no where Santa appeared on stage!
From the look on my son’s face, I could only imagine all the other small faces in the crowd with wide eyes and excited smiles. “It’s Santa!”, my son said while clapping with everyone. I couldn’t help giggling with him when Santa danced and joked with the conductor. My husband’s smile, my son’s beautiful big eyes, I only wished they allowed photos during the show!
They ended the program with a compilation of various carols. My tot’s little whispers, naming off each of the songs. We could have sat there forever, resting in those comfortable red seats, listening to Christmas come alive.
The end came all too soon. You would never have imagined that the entire celebration was 2 hours. My son has never sat so still and patient in his entire life. I left feeling blessed, for my family, for the moment and for our lives.
Since we’ve come home it is all my son talks about. He sings the carols and talks about everything, even going up the steps. Today is my Mother’s Christmas and he has said to me that he can’t wait to tell Gramma all about the Symphony. I will eventually do a post specifically about taking your child to the Symphony since I hadn’t read anything about it while researching before we left.
There is ONE more showing of the Holiday Celebration at 2pm this afternoon and if you can make it, I urge you to go. There were children from infants to teens sitting with their parents quietly and it was amazing. I cannot think of a better tradition for your family than taking them to this event.
Online sales end 3 hours before the event begins, so make sure you get them fast or call before you arrive to see if there are seats available for purchase. You can find out more about the Holiday Celebration on the St. Louis Symphony’s webpage.
I received complimentary tickets to write about the Holiday Celebration. My family’s gratitude in attending is enormous. These opinions are my own and are not influenced by any form of compensation.