Nurturing the Arts
SHE KEEPS DOING IT. She keeps encouraging kids to enjoy and appreciate classical music. And they love it.
They also packed the Dock Street Theatre a few days before Christmas to hear it. Selections, that is, of Christmas favorites performed by the Chamber Music Charleston trio of Nonoko Okada (violin), Regina Helcher Yost (flute), and Tim O’Malley (cello). These three played beautifully and obviously had a lot of fun, but “she”—Sandra Nikolajevs—was the heart of this event, and it showed in her joyful enthusiasm for introducing kids to classical instruments and music.
My wife and I were there singing and swinging with our seven-year-old daughter who, along with hundreds of other kids, couldn’t get enough of belting out Christmas carols and other holiday tunes.
Having this event in the Dock Street Theatre also made it special. Charleston’s oldest and truest theatre (with fixed seats, wrap-around balcony, full array of lighting, reception hall, bar, and—above all—magical charm) is something every kid should experience at least once and hopefully many more times. Perhaps especially in today’s world of high-tech, high-definition, and reality shows, which, for all their up-to-the-second reality, fail to transport the heart and soul the way a real theatre can. And who is it but the kid in us that wants to be lifted out of our concerns for awhile and allowed to wonder in an ideal world?
Which reminds me: another special part of this Classical Kids Concert was Michael Easler’s telling of “The Night Before Christmas.” Michael is a member of the Actors’ Theatre of South Carolina and his reciting—as opposed to a reading—of the spine-tingling tale was wonderful. The kids grew as quiet while he told it as they were boisterous in song.
And as a parent, I am pretty sure that the next best thing to seeing children be perfectly quiet is hearing them play an instrument well and knowing how much it benefits the whole of their being.
Sandra and friends, thank you for doing it. Parents and sponsors, please keep supporting it. States and schools, please adopt more of it. Attend one of these concerts and you’ll see why.