Tickets to this performance were generously provided by Kalamazoo Symphony OrchestraAll opinions are my own.

When I was presented with the opportunity to take my family to the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra’s (KSO) production of Beethoven Lives Upstairs, my husband was a little reluctant. He was worried about how classical music and our rambunctious, boisterous almost 2-year old and 4-year old would mix. I assured him it was advertised as family friendly and would be a fun (or at worst memorable) experience. We loaded up our minivan and headed to Chenery Auditorium hoping for the best.

KSO Does Family Friendly Right

My family and I arrived at Chenery Auditorium about 40 minutes before curtain and found parking easily. Tip: park in the large lot behind the auditorium instead of searching for street parking.

We immediately headed to the 2nd floor for the Instrument Petting Zoo. My 4-year old daughter’s face lit up when she saw all the instruments and learned she was going to actually touch and play them.

She loved traveling from instrument to instrument, getting the opportunity to actually touch and play each one. Not only did her face tell me she was having an incredible time, but after successfully making any noise whatsoever from each instrument she yelled “Mama! I did it! I played the violin” and beamed with pride.

While she was loving every second, my almost 2-year old was a little overwhelmed by all the noise and excitement and wasn’t too interested in any of the instruments but after a few minutes, he did warm up to the idea and tried to push the keys of a flute.

The instrument petting zoo was by far my daughters’ favorite part of the event. Make plans to attend this fantastic pre-concert activity at any Family Discovery Concert.

Meet the Maestro

After checking out too many instruments to count, our family headed downstairs to the Meet the Maestro event.

Daniel Brier, KSO Resident Conductor, talked to the children about what to expect during the concert and taught them key terms about the production, such as conductor and director roles.

Entertainment for Young and Old Alike

Finally it was time!

Friendly ushers helped us to our seats. We were thrilled to see the theatre filled with families and children of all ages.

The concert started promptly at 3:00 PM and lasted about 50 minutes. My daughter was mesmerized by the concert the entire time. She asked lots of questions about the actors, instruments, conductor, and about the actual auditorium. She loved looking around and spotting the instruments she had just played.  Admittingly, my almost 2-year old son got antsy and my husband had to pull out a few quiet toys to help keep him entertained.

We all enjoyed not only the incredible music but also were captivated by the story of Beethoven living in an apartment above a young boy. The story was engaging and humorous. My husband and I both loved the concert and thought it was not only great for children but equally entertaining for adults. We both agreed the concert was fun and definitely age appropriate for our 4-year old but perhaps a little out of our 2-year old’s league.

We left the auditorium effortlessly and before we even reached the parking lot my daughter was asking when we could come again and what instruments she could try next time. Needless to say, we’ll definitely be returning for the next KSO Family Discovery Series production.

Learn More About KSO Family Discovery Series

KSO ‘s Family Discovery Series is specifically designed as a musical introduction for children ages 4 and up. Before the concert, children can partake in their infamous Instrument Petting Zoo and even meet the Maestro.

Worried about your child making it through a lengthy concert? Concerts in the Family Discovery Series run under an hour, making it the perfect length for even your preschooler’s short attention span. Tickets can be purchased online.

359 South Kalamazoo Mall, Ste. 100, Kalamazoo, MI

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