Orange County's Pacific Symphony Presents NUTCRACKER FOR KIDS, 12/12

It's that magical time of the year again, when visions of sugar plums dance in the air and Pacific Symphony's Family Musical Mornings series returns to the enchanted land of the Sugar Plum Fairy with "Nutcracker for Kids." Led by Pacific Symphony Assistant Conductor Maxim Eshkenazy, the orchestra performs excerpts from the much-loved holiday ballet by Tchaikovsky in a condensed version designed especially for children (45 kid-friendly minutes in length). Taking place on Saturday, Dec. 12, at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, the program features young dancers from the Festival Ballet Theatre (FBT) performing the charming tale of Clara, a girl who receives an extraordinary gift-a nutcracker that magically turns into a prince. For the finale of this popular concert, which is almost always a sell-out, the audience is invited to participate in a holiday sing-along, and as a special treat, Santa Claus himself makes an appearance!

"This year we will be using a gigantic screen behind the orchestra to enhance the action on stage," says Maestro Eshkenazy. "This will allow our patrons to see every little detail of the dancers and the musicians performing on stage. I love conducting for dancers. It is one of the most challenging tasks for a conductor and rewarding for an audience. "I really think all families must let their kids experience the magic of Tchaikovsky's 'Nutcracker,'" adds Eshkenazy. "It is a timeless masterpiece that will always enrich our lives. And it's a great holiday gift to take someone to this concert. I love getting presents-especially musical ones. They are the ones I remember forever."

In addition to the performance, kids are invited to attend the Musical Carnival-beginning at 9 a.m. (for those attending the 10 a.m. performance) and at 12:15 p.m. (for those attending the 11:30 a.m. concert)-which features a meet-and-greet with Symphony musicians and dancers from FBT, the opportunity to play some of the instruments featured in the concert, as well as holiday-themed games and activities.

FBT, founded in 1988 by Salwa Rizkalla, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the artistic enrichment of the Orange County community through professional productions, educational programs and by providing a nurturing and intensive artistic home base to some of Southern California's most talented young dancers. The dancers appearing in this production are students of Southland Ballet Academy (SBA), the official school of FBT. Founded in 1983, SBA provides the professional level of training in classical ballet that students require before joining the company.

This season's Family series line-up continues on Feb. 6, 2010, with "Superheroes!" Join the orchestra as they explore what kind of music sets the mood for fighting crime, using super powers, or rescuing a damsel in distress. Can our hero save the day? Will he defeat the villain? Boys and girls won't want to miss this action-packed concert where they are invited to come dressed as a favorite superhero!

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For tickets ($19-$36) or information, call (714) 755-5799 or visit: www.pacificsymphony.org.

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From This Author Michael L. Quintos

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