Music for Mother’s Day

Dear Friends — and welcome readers of the New York Times,

If your experience is anything like ours, attending the arts was a regular part of your life until you had children. At that moment, the arts suddenly became a luxury, fraught with the stress and expense of finding childcare.

To quote a Facebook status by friend of ours:
[box]Every time that I have to miss a play that I desperately want to see, by a good friend, I’m going to put $5 in a jar. And then I am going to use that money for a babysitter, and go see a show by someone I love. I mean, I love this baby, but damn.[/box]

Is it really fair to let young parents disappear from the arts, leaving them out of the conversation, relegating them to family events and outdoor concerts? As parents of two boys (aged almost 3 and almost 5),  this is the the majority of what arts we see, and most of our friends are in a similar situation.

It’s time to try something different – adults be adults, kids be kids.

This Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 11), join us for a unique “parallel concert” experience for families, followed by a potluck meal. Two concerts happen simultaneously in adjacent rooms at the National Opera Center, one geared towards adults, and the other toward children. No babysitter required.  Each room gets two shows great for the price of one.  (See detailed schedule below.)

In the 11am set, come see very young students from the Special Music School’s ensemble Face the Music in a parallel concert with my own string group, Ljova and the Pinky Swear Brigade.

At the 4pm set, see my ensemble Ljova and the Kontraband in a parallel with our friends Banda Magda a fantastic outfit led by composer / vocalist / accordionist Magda Giannikou.

My biggest inspiration for this are our children, who are my the toughest critics. If they love something, they’ll sing it for months — if they don’t, they’ll want to leave. In thinking about what to play for the kids next week, I’m picking selections that are upbeat and memorable, songs with a story, songs that may well make them dance.  I want them to be excited and hungry for more, and also have room to ask questions.

For the adult set, we’d like to play things that are more nuanced, fragile, things that sound better when the room is quiet.

Following both performances will be a potluck meal. You bring it – we’ll eat it, with pleasure!

Tickets are $20, or $70 for a family of four – advanced purchase is highly recommended, as both venues have a capacity of 50. All proceeds go directly towards paying the musicians and our rental costs. While admission isn’t free, I’m hoping this is still cheaper than an average bill for Mother’s Day Brunch.

I am incredibly excited, grateful, and we are all looking forward to performing for you. If you have any questions, please contact me here, or below. Thank you!

[box]brown paper tickets logoGet Tickets for the 11am show (Face the Music / Ljova and the Pinky Swear Brigade)
Get Tickets for the 4pm show (Ljova and the Kontraband / Banda Magda)

Detailed schedule:

10:30am – doors open in both rooms for the first concert
11am – set one  (Ljova and the Pinky Swear Brigade / Face the Music)
11:45am intermission
12:15pm set two  (Face the Music / Ljova and the Pinky Swear Brigade)
1pm potluck lunch

3:30pm doors open in both rooms for the second concert
4pm set one (Ljova and the Kontraband / Banda Magda)
4:45pm intermission
5:15pm set two (Banda Magda / Ljova and the Kontraband)
6pm potluck dinner


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