Category Archives: Music for your child (that isn’t annoying)

Miss Jubilee & the Humdingers on Metrolink

Do your kids love trains and good music? The hot jazz and swing happy sounds of Miss Jubilee and the Humdingers will entertain holiday Metrolink riders Saturday, December 15, 2012 from 1:22 to 3:21 pm on the Red Line. The route begins at the Fairview Heights station in Illinois, travels to Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, and returns to Fairview Heights. Miss Jubilee and the Humdingers will be performing swing music, blues, and holiday favorites. The concert is free with a valid Metrolink ticket.

Listen (and dance around the room) to Miss Jubilee and the Humdingers before you go!

Detailed scheduled station stops

Metrolink map

Missouri System map

Fare information

Photo: Miss Jubilee and the Humdingers

St. Louis Symphony Performances

The St. Louis Symphony is right in your backyard but is also world renowned. Haven’t seen them before or having difficulty picking a concert from their wonderfully full performance schedule? Here are some suggestions for both unique outings with the kids and stellar date nights. In particular, the date night concerts feature some not-to-be-missed incredible artists and repertoire. Unless otherwise noted, the following descriptions (and adjectives) of the performances are taken directly from the St. Louis Symphony web site.

Single tickets for most 2011-2012 concerts are available on Friday, August 12.

Information about the 2011-12 Season
Box Office and Ticket Information
Plan Your Visit
Powell Hall

Photo: St. Louis Symphony, Scott Ferguson


Warner Brothers presents “Bugs Bunny at the Symphony”
Saturday, September 10, 2011 at 7 pm
Sunday, September 11, 2011 at 2 pm
George Daugherty, conductor and creator
Bugs Bunny is back with the STL Symphony providing live accompaniment to your favorite classic Looney Tunes on the big screen. This exhilarating new version is perfect for the entire family.


The Composer is Dead
by Nathaniel Stookey with text by Lemony Snicket
Sunday, October 30, 2011 at 3 pm
Ward Stare, conductor
Bobby Norfolk, narrator
There’s dreadful news from within Powell Hall–the composer is dead! Halloween weekend experience Lemony Snicket’s murder mystery whodunit, where the instruments are the suspects and no one will go unnoticed.


Mozart’s The Magic Flute (abridged)
In partnership with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis
Sunday, January 15, 2012 at 3 pm
Ward Stare, conductor
Endlessly inventive, charmingly fantastical and utterly unique, Mozart’s final opera is a lighthearted tale of love and the art of birdcatching. The STL Symphony presents a special condensed version for kids featuring Opera Theatre of Saint Louis Young Artists.

Disney in Concert: Magical Music from the Movies
Saturday, February 11, 2012 at 7 pm
Sunday, February 12, 2012 at 2 pm
Ward Stare, conductor
Fun for the whole family! Enjoy a concert of symphonic arrangements from The Walt Disney Studio vault. Disney in Concert features music, film clips, and artist renderings showcasing a variety of musical scores from popular Disney movies including Mary Poppins, The Lion King, The Huntchback of Notre Dame, and more.


An American in Paris
Friday, September 30, 2011 at 8 pm
David Robertson, conductor
Ward Stare, conductor
Edgar Meyer, double bass
IVES Central Park in the Dark (Culture Mama note: This isn’t performed very often. Brilliant unraveling kind of music.)
COPLAND Suite from The City (with film accompaniment)
MEYER Double Bass Concerto No. 3 (World Premiere)
GERSHWIN An American in Paris

David Robertson leads an All-American program full of favorites complete with Gershwin’s depiction of an American’s escapades through the “City of Lights” and Copland’s first film score, The City, presented live with film. Edgar Meyer, reigning virtuoso of the double bass, makes his STL Symphony debut performing the world premiere of his astounding third double bass concerto.

Enigma Variations
Friday, October 21, 2011 at 10:30 am (Coffee Concert)
Saturday, October 22, 2011 at 8 pm
Sunday, October 23, 2011 at 3 pm
Vasily Petrenko, conductor
Olga Kern, piano (Culture Mama note: I worked with this wonderful pianist in DC at her Kennedy Center debut and have been continuously amazed at her strength, smarts, and gorgeous playing.)
RACHMANINOFF The Isle of the Dead
CHOPIN Piano Concerto No. 1
ELGAR Enigma Variations
Elgar’s mysterious Enigma Variations are full of familiar and gorgeous melodies including the popular “Nimrod.” Paired with pianist Olga Kern performing Chopin’s dazzling Piano Concert No. 1, you’ll be humming the marvelous tunes of this program for days.

Christine Brewer sings Strauss
Friday, January 13, 2012 at 8 pm
Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 8 pm

David Robertson, conductor
Christine Brewer, soprano
DVORAK Symphony No. 7
CRUMB A Haunted Landscape

R. STRAUSS Four Last Songs (Culture Mama note: one of my favorite works)
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch declares that “there is no one today who sings Richard Strauss’ soprano roles better than Christine Brewer – period.”  Hear the St. Louis phenomenon performing Strauss’ stirring Four Last Songs, his final complete work, and David Robertson conducting Dvorak’s splendid Seventh Symphony.


Hubbard Street Dance Chicago (Culture Mama note: Yes! Dance with live music.)
Friday, February 17, 2012 at 10:30 am (Coffee Concert)
Friday, February 17, 2012 at 8 pm
Saturday, February 18, 2012 at 8 pm
Sunday, February 19, 2012 at 3 pm
David Robertson, conductor
Hubbard Street Dance Company
St. Louis Symphony welcomes back the famed Hubbard Street Dance Chicago as one of the highlights of this exciting season exploring the synergy between music and dance. The internationally recognized troupe, returns to St. Louis after performing to sold-out audiences in 2009.

Bach Mass in B minor
Saturday, March 31, 2012 at 8 pm
Sunday, April 1, 2012 at 3 pm
David Robertson, conductor
Susanna Phillips, soprano
Kate Lindsey, mezzo-soprano
Nicholas Phan, tenor
Stephen Powell, baritone
St. Louis Symphony Chorus
Amy Kaiser, director
Composed in the final year of Bach’s life, the monumental Mass in B minor inspires audiences regardless of background as a spiritual masterpiece. David Robertson leads the combined forces of the St. Louis Symphony and Chorus for this powerfully transcendent work.

Fun family viewing: Singin’ in the Rain

Want to expand your preschooler’s movie repertoire beyond the usual Pixar and Disney choices? Try the 1952 classic Singin’ in the Rain. Award winning, toe-tapping, glorious dancing, and parodied beyond belief over the years, the comedic musical Singin’ in the Rain features some great humor and movement that will keep you and your child entertained. A nice plus is that there are no “scary” scenes unlike in many of Pixar and Disney films. We mainly fast forward to all the singing and dancing parts for my three year old daughter. Some of her favorite songs are:

* Make ‘Em Laugh (Donald O’Connor’s incredible song and dance scene. The part when he tries to get up and keeps falling down of course is a hit with preschoolers.)

* Moses Supposes (Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor tap dancing and singing really fast)

* Good Morning (Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, and Donald O’Connor)

* Singin’ in the Rain (iconic scene with Gene Kelly singing and dancing in the rain)

* Broadway Melody Ballet (some truly breathtaking dancing by Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse)

Our daughter also laughs out loud at the funny voice of leading lady Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen) in the talking scenes and the antics of Cosmo Brown (Donald O’Connor).

One of the best musicals in film history, Singin’ in the Rain is readily available at your public library, Netflix, Amazon instant video rental, and Blockbuster. Happy watching (dancing and singing too).

Thomas Hampson can soothe your kid to sleep

One of my favorite recordings is of baritone Thomas Hampson singing songs by Ives, Griffes, and MacDowell. Surprisingly poignant and melodic, the Ives lieder are just filled with wonder and calm. I played this recording while my baby was in the NICU (she was a preemie) and the music regularly quieted a room full of crying. Not all of the pieces are quiet so peaceful, so I burned a CD with my favorites and play it when my now preschooler needs some down time. A nice alternative to the usual tot lullaby CDs out there. You might also check your local library for a copy–the album was recorded in 1991.

Charles Ives’s Feldeinsamkeit (In Summer Fields), song for voice & piano, S. 250 (K. 6B27) is pure bliss.

A Spoonful of Sugar

I’m not sure why, but our three year old recently became fascinated by Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, and Annie. We try not to let her watch more than an hour a day, but she sings the songs when the TV is off and dances all over the house. A nice alternative to PBS Kids and such. I forgot how charming and brilliant the dancing is in Mary Poppins and the songs sure are catchy. Your local library probably has a few DVD copies of these films (although scratched most likely!). has some reasonably priced DVDs.

Gosh. Remember Carol Burnett in the film version of Annie? What a makeup job.

The soundtracks are great for car rides as well. Consider downloading a few of your little one’s favorites from itunes.