A Carnival of Kid-Friendly Music

Chamber Orchestra concert features locally penned poems

Barbara Arnold

The Eau Claire Chamber Orchestra will perform Camille Saint-Saen’s Carnival of the Animals, one of the French composer’s best-known works, at its annual free Family and Friends concert at 2pm Saturday, Jan. 25, in the RCU Theatre at the Pablo Center at the Confluence, 128 Graham Ave.

The hour-long concert with no intermission will also feature a percussion quartet, Tin Play, by Per Andreasson. Both musical pieces will entertain children and adults alike. Along with ECCO’s superb musicians, directed by Dr. Frank A. Watkins, the concert will feature UW-Eau Claire piano faculty members Loria Curciani and William Whipple.

This year’s performance will also provide an unusual twist with local authors reading original poems about each movement of Carnival of the Animals. Those writers include Jeannie Roberts, Jane and Jim Jeffries, Jennifer Eddy, and Tom Giffey. Inspired by the original animal-themed verses by Ogden Nash, each has rewritten the poems with local humor.

After the concert, Memorial and North high school orchestra students will conduct a musical instrument petting zoo where children can try out the various musical instruments. While admission is free, a ticket must be reserved via the Pablo Center website (pablocenter.org) or at the box office.