CMSD students will be interpreting the musical piece using the animal masks made during the school year. There also will be a spoken narration of the verses written by poet Ogden Nash in 1949 to accompany each movement of the work. CMSD students have also volunteered to serve as door monitors and ushers.
The free 6:30 p.m. concert at MLK Campus and another one at the Boys and Girls Club on Broadway Avenue on Thursday are the culmination of a larger program that has been coordinated by Sophie van der Westhuizen, Director of CIPC’s ArtsConnect community outreach program and Allison Wallace, Executive Director of the Greater Cleveland Neighborhood Centers Association (NCA).
The expressive lions, kangaroos, tortoises, elephants, and other exotic animals in the bouncy musical piece are bound to enchant the audience at the free event at 1651 E. 71st St., said Pierre Van Der Westhuizen, president and CEO of the CIPC.
"This piece has a very direct way of speaking to kids -- it's sophisticated, but descriptive and kids get it," he said. "No matter your expertise level, this is something you will certainly enjoy."
The work, which is a musical depiction of animals engaging in their own high-spirited parade, is hugely popular and should be immediately sound familiar to many in the audience. It has been featured in movies such as Disney’s Fantasia 2000 and Charlotte’s Web, as well as a cartoon featuring Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. It is considered a time-honored and thoroughly entertaining way to introduce young children to classical music.
Pierre Van Der Westhuizen said the concert and year-long study into the classical music piece is part of a larger effort to connect the community to the arts.
"The aim of this is to bring it right into the heart of the community," he said. "If we want to break the barriers that exist to get to classical music, we can't wait for people to come to us.
The orchestra will be comprised of local musicians who regularly perform for ArtsConnect, combining forces with the children of Cleveland to present this great concert. Ralitsa Georgieva-Smith, a member of the faculty at the Cleveland Institute of Music, and Shen Lu, a CIM student, will be the featured pianists; David Platt, also a student at CIM will conduct.
Major support for the Carnival of the Animals project was provided by the George Gund Foundation. Additional support was provided by the Frank H. and Nancy L. Porter Fund of the Cleveland Foundation, Steinway & Sons, and Cuyahoga Arts & Culture.