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MUSIC: Ventura County | FOR THE KIDS

Tuned In to Youth

Special 'passports' aim to make fest enjoyable for kids.


The Ventura Chamber Music Festival being held today through May 10 is offering special ticket rates for kids and a "Kid's Passport," which contains age-appropriate program notes.

OK, let's first get over the issue of whether kids are interested in this kind of music. Expressing the feelings of many who attended an Anacapa String Quartet performance during last year's edition of the festival, Ventura sixth-grader Darren Stafford wrote in a school essay, "I don't like classical music, but when I saw the presentation I really enjoyed it. I really like classical music now."

Rather than dwell on the old contention that kids don't like Mozart, or the new one that insists that kids who learn to read music early have a head start on doing well in math at school, let's just get into what's offered this weekend.

If something looks interesting, phone for reservations right away. According to spokeswoman Karyl Lynn Burns, concerts have begun to sell out.

Friday at 8 p.m., a "Musical Mosaic," including classical and new chamber music will be performed in the San Buenaventura Mission by the Cuarteto Latinoamericano.

These Mexico-City-based "macho Hispanic chamber musicians," as Burns calls them, have been making it their business to include special concerts for kids in their international tours.

In Ventura, they will perform at a free bilingual music appreciation program May 7; 400 Westpark Community Center kids are expected to attend. When word got, almost all of the places got gobbled up, so don't show up without calling first.

Saturday evening is the first event where a Kid's Passport will be available. It will contain an explanation for youngsters about the orchestral and choral work, "Carmina Burana" by Carl Orff, being performed at Our Lady of the Assumption Church in Ventura. Performing will be the Festival Orchestra percussion section, the Ventura Master Chorale and the Master Chorale Children's Choir, all conducted by Burns Taft.

One might characterize this musical extravaganza as a cross between a "Star Wars" movie score and an oratorio about the Middle Ages. And it might just thrill anyone who attends.

On May 9 at the Masonic Temple will be another Kid's Passport concert. The themes will be Celtic and dancing will be featured in addition to orchestral music.

Kids will get to see ancient music played on ancient instruments--very noisy, even though without electric amplification.


For information about Kid's Passport events, to which admission is $9, for the Ventura Chamber Music Festival or festival-related music appreciation presentations for students during May and June, call (805) 648-3146.

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