The Family That Plays Together Stays Together

It’s no secret that music brings families closer together. The Jackson 5 sang some groovy Motown tunes, the Trapp family harmonized their way to Switzerland and the Marleys continue to celebrate as the “first family” of reggae. Tom Wilson of Blackie and The Rodeo Kings and Lee Harvey Osmond shared his love of rock music with his son Thompson Wilson of Hamilton’s Harlan Pepper, and they often play at the same concerts together.

Music is something family members can have in common with one another because it spans across generations. Going to a concert, listening to an album or teaching each other how to play an instrument are experiences which allow families to set aside cell phones and laptops in order to share mutual interests and special moments together.

HPO musicians Melanie Eyers and Rob Wolanski reflect on how they celebrate music with their families.

IMG_5365_2HPO’s second bassoonist, Melanie Eyers, talks about how she enjoys teaching her daughter Allison to play piano:

“I feel so lucky that my daughter Allison, who will turn six in March, has her own unique love of music.  I like to think that it started in the womb during our HPO rehearsals. I started teaching piano lessons to Allison in the fall.  Before Allison came along, I had 23 students in my private piano studio,  and 10 years of teaching experience.  I was very reluctant to be Allison’s teacher, since I am first and  foremost her parent.  I was not sure there would be the necessary professional distance and respect.  Now, six months later, it has been a wonderful experience and I am so happy that she is keen to learn and  enjoys the lessons.  I am so proud that she has learned the classics such as ‘Jingle Bells,’ ‘The Muffin  Man,’ and ‘Twinkle Twinkle.’ She bought a guitar with birthday money and I like to think she will be on Canadian Idol someday…

My husband brought Allison to an HPO dress rehearsal recently, to hear Orion Weiss play a Mozart piano concerto.  I was so excited for her to hear me and my friends, since she had no idea what I actually do when I ‘go to work.’  She sat quietly with Daddy for almost an hour, with her craft to keep her busy, but my husband said that she ‘looked up at all the right moments’ and was mesmerized by the piano playing.”

HPO-0383Rob Wolanski, HPO’s principal bass player, discusses his 3 year old daughter’s evolving interest in music:

“She is constantly asking for me or my wife to sing to her and in the past few months she has really started singing along quite a bit. I can tell she will be really musical. Her rhythm while singing is excellent  –she never races ahead and always waits exactly the right length of time to sing the next line if there are  rests in the vocal melody.

As a listener, she has already figured out the controls on our CD player and stereo system.

She became quite enchanted with the complete Nutcracker ballet recording and has been listening to large sections of it repeatedly. She will listen to the whole thing but she especially likes the Russian Dance (Trepak) and Polichinelles. She will put those on and dance madly to them.

We often will listen to music together at mealtime and she has become a huge fan of the 60s folk/blues singer Fred Neil who I just randomly put on one day. I’m not very familiar with his work especially so we are discovering him together.”

Here’s “Everybody’s Talkin’” by Fred Neil:


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