Wednesday, 7 August 2013

An afternoon date, 'Journey to the Planets' Gustav Holst

Planets are a feature in our life at the moment and they've been circling for a while now.

When my son was an infant and toddler, we'd listen to Gustav Holst's 'The Planets' in the car as we drove about our daily activities. From memory I think we got on to reading about the planets by observing the moon first, we borrowed a Simon Seymour book from our library last year and it ignited a keen interest in the solar system. Next Ye Ye* gave him a set of glow-in-the-dark planet pyjamas  He couldn't have been happier! In the last few months, my son has taken up colouring-in (like never before) and now he colours in the solar system. The next level for us would be to make a paper mache solar system to hang in their play area.

A few weeks ago, a friend alerted us to a children's symphony performance - 'Journey to the Planets' with Willoughby Symphony Orchestra. An opportunity not to be missed!

Siblings sense when a new baby is coming.  Our son picked up on the pregnancy quite quickly. His need to have one on one time with both me and my husband is really strong at the moment. The above performance gave me a wonderful opportunity to have some special mum and son time together in a totally new situation. His first ever concert and our first concert together. I had a few tears as I played a YouTube version of 'Jupiter' for us whilst booking the tickets. I think there was more anticipation on my part than his! Upon booking, the box office informed me of the pre-show activities in the foyer for the children.

As we arrived out of the lift that afternoon, a man dressed up in a white NASA outfit was handing out details for a 'scavenger hunt' (more suitable for the older children), further along there were opportunities to look through a telescope to see outside and a much smaller handheld one for close up study of star constellations, around the corner was a hands on table where the children were crafting away at their very own rocket ships and our last stop was at the colouring table with multiple pages to choose from. My son got straight down to business and we stayed there until the bells rang.

Once inside and awaiting there was air of excitement. Looking down from the dress circle were hundreds of children, ranging from little tots through to early teenagers and adults all eagerly awaiting commencement. I couldn't help tearing up again as my son stood up against the balustrade looking down at all the instruments. 

A few quirks to the performance was the conductor who arrived without a black coat, instead a white NASA backpack and an astronaut who guided the children through five out of the seven movements and who received many cheers from the enthusiastic children!

Following this we stopped by a gelato shop for a milkshake treat and another element to our afternoon was a train trip home.

Such a wonderful, wonderful time we had, just the two of us and the afternoon.

*Ye Ye - paternal grandfather in mandarin

A YouTube of 'Jupiter' can be found here played by Tokyo City Philarmonic Orchestra. Have a tissue handy - it is thrilling.

Those familiar with the British 'I vow to thee my country', here is a YouTube with lyrics to enjoy also. 


  1. Theresa, this is a treat to read about offering insight into how your son feels about his new sibling and how you feel about the whole experience! Really enjoyed reading this and catching up on what direction your blog is going in. Nice!
    Xx Bridget

    1. Thanks Bridget, I'm glad to hear you enjoyed reading this post xx


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