Saratoga Orchestra holds its annual “petting zoo” before “Peter and the Wolf” holiday performances this month. Instruments will be available for a “hands-on” experience for both the young and young-at-heart. Photos provided

Saratoga Orchestra holds its annual “petting zoo” before “Peter and the Wolf” holiday performances this month. Instruments will be available for a “hands-on” experience for both the young and young-at-heart. Photos provided

Saratoga Orchestra offers Peter, a wolf and a ‘petting zoo,’ too

Saratoga Orchestra hosts traditional kid-friendly concert

If it’s December, it’s time to pet some percussion, tickle the trombone and gently handle the harp.

Saratoga Orchestra’s free family holiday concert and Instrument Petting Zoo is scheduled this month with performances Dec. 9 at Langley and Dec. 16 at Coupeville and Oak Harbor.

One hour prior to a performance of “Peter and the Wolf,” the young and young-at-heart are encouraged to check out the magic of music — how a bow plays a violin, a big breath hones a horn, a touch tingles a triangle.

“It’s a user-friendly concert,” said Larry Heidel, executive director. “It’s a way for kids and some adults who are not familiar with orchestra to learn about it.

“We have instruments out for them to look at and they really interact with the musicians.”

Music Director Anna Edwards will lead the orchestra in a performance of “Peter and the Wolf,” a timeless classic where each character of the story is represented by different musical instruments. It was composed in 1936 by Sergei Prokofiev.

Don’t worry, more familiar modern-day tunes are also on the program — Disney’s “Frozen” — and a sing-along of favorite and festive Christmas carols.

Saratoga Orchestra, a non-profit organization, is in its tenth season performing on Whidbey Island. It’s overseen by a board of directors and musician advisory committee.

A member of the League of American Orchestras, its mission includes entertaining, educating, and enriching through music; fostering local talent and enhancing the awareness and reputation of Whidbey Island as a cultural destination.

High school students are regularly selected to play with the orchestra and it offers educational opportunities to local elementary schools in the spring.

Saratoga Orchestra was recently awarded a third place prize in the Ernst Bacon Memorial Award for the Performance of American Music in the Professional Orchestra Division.

Its season continues through May.

Saratoga Orchestra’s free “Peter and the Wolf” concert and Instrument Petting Zoo schedule: Saturday, Dec. 9, Langley: 1 p.m. petting zoo; 2 p.m. concert; Island Church of Whidbey.

Saturday, Dec. 16, Coupeville: 10 a.m. petting zoo; 11 a.m. concert; Coupeville High School Commons.

Saturday Dec. 16, Oak Harbor: 2 p.m. petting zoo, 3 p.m. concert; First Reformed Church.

Its season continues through the spring with concerts in January, March, April and May.

For more information, call 360-929-3045 or see www. sowhidbey.com

Audience members can check out instruments at a “petting zoo”one hour before the free concert begins.

Audience members can check out instruments at a “petting zoo”one hour before the free concert begins.

Familiar Disney tunes and other Christmas classics are also on the program for the annual family free concert.

Familiar Disney tunes and other Christmas classics are also on the program for the annual family free concert.

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