Kids Holiday Matinee at the Boston Pops: What to Expect
As a family, we try to take advantage of Boston’s world class cultural attractions every chance we get. Attending Boston Pops Orchestra’s Kids Holiday Matinee at the Symphony Hall seemed festively appropriate for December holidays, but we had no idea what to expect. This was the first time my daughter and I attended Boston Pops Holiday concert, but for many local families it is a beloved holidays tradition (read about other Boston holidays must do‘s in this post).
Here is what to expect at the Boston Pops Kids Holiday Matinee:
The Hall. Boston’s historic Symphony Hall (built in 1900) is among the best music venues in the world! With its shallow balconies, statue-filled niches and beautiful coffered ceiling (all specially constructed so as not to trap the sound), it does not need much decorations to inspire the music lovers. Yet, the Symphony becomes ever so special for the holidays. Many patrons add to the festive occasion by dressing in their holidays’ best (kids included). Ourselves, we were dressed in holiday “casuals”, but if you feel festive, don’t be afraid to show it – as many people will.
The Pops. For those new to Boston Symphony Hall, the Boston Pops is Boston Symphony’s second identity, playing light classical and popular music during December holiday season and in the spring. For the holiday performances in December, the Pops were accompanied by all-volunteer Tanglewood Festival Chorus (with William Cutler, quest chorus director). It added to the atmosphere of the performance that the Pops conductor Keith Lockhart himself was addressing the audience, talking about the season of light from both Jewish and Christian perspectives and remembering his own family holiday traditions.
The Kids. This is a family concert so expect a lot of kids. And when I say kids, I mean babies in arms, toddlers, and elementary schoolers (kids ages two and under attend for free). Surprisingly for this type of crowd, I was never disturbed or heard anyone crying or otherwise misbehaving (strategic acoustics?). And when a little boy from the audience decided to run towards Santa (as Santa was making his way around the tables – heading for the stage), it was all good and cute and really just part of the … Kids Holiday Matinee at the Pops!
The Program includes holiday classics (A Christmas Scherzo, Mary Little Boy Child) as well as kids’ “specials”: How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss, and kids’ popular sing-alongs (Jingle Bells, the Chipmunk Song, Frosty the Snowman) led by the Santa himself. The lyrics are projected onto giant screen and everyone sings along (I saw my Vi singing too!)
I was pleasantly surprised to hear Jewish Hanukah’s Light One Candle on the program. The show is 70 minutes without an intermission.
Cafe Seating. For Boston Pops concerts, the first floor auditorium seating is traditionally reconfigured with café style tables. For kids’ holiday matinee, special kids’ menus on each table were accompanied with pencils for drawing – and I observed many kids taking advantage of these touches. You can order from the full menu of hot and cold light dishes, fully packaged in a “to go” containers to prevent spills and the need for too much servicing. If you plan to order food, arrive early as ordering is encouraged prior to showtime. You can also just go festive (and simple) and order just Champaign or another beverage. For kids, milk and cookies during holiday performance go a long way towards keeping their attention and holiday spirits intact. But if you prefer to keep your musical concerts food-free, go with balcony seating (it is also a cheaper option!).
My daughter got into holiday spirit so much that she expressed interest in the pictures with Santa after the performance – and she never goes for the pictures with Santa! Well, this was the Boston Pops’ very special performing Santa after all!
Remaining shows in 2016: December 17, 18 and 24th. Kids two and under attend for free but need a ticket. We were guests of the Boston Symphony. For tickets go to Boston Symphony website.
For the tips on attending Boston Symphony’s summer lawn concerts at Tanglewood in the Berkshires with your kids, read this post.