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The Mom Review: Follow the Yellow Brick Road to Tanglewood

By Rebecca Dravis
iberkshires Staff
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The witch might have been wicked, but the Boston Pops were nothing short of wicked awesome on Friday night when they accompanied a screening of 'The Wizard of Oz' at Tanglewood.

Editor's Note: This is the eighth installment of The Mom Review, a summer-long series of reviews of family-friendly theater, dance, art exhibits, etc., by iBerkshires Community Editor Rebecca Dravis and her 8-year-old daughter, Noelle, who hope to give you some ideas for summer family fun.

 

The first time I brought Noelle to Tanglewood, she was 18 months old. Needless to say, she doesn't remember the trip to see a family-friendly matinee orchestra concert with her cousins who were visiting from Oregon. 

Those cousins at the time were about the same age as Noelle is now, so it seemed appropriate to bring her back to Tanglewood this summer to experience a place I have loved since I was a kid growing up in Pittsfield.

Noelle plays the viola, so I knew she would enjoy an orchestra show, but I didn't think she had the patience to sit through a full-length "regular" concert. But when I saw that Tanglewood was hosting a screening of "The Wizard of Oz" with live accompaniment by the Boston Pops, I knew this was our best chance.

And it was amazing.

Last Friday was a lovely, if unseasonably cool, night in Lenox. The movie was scheduled to start at 8:30, which was a little late for a true family-friendly experience, but that didn't stop lots of children of all ages from attending. We arrived at 7:30 and I was surprised at how dark it already was; fall most certainly is approaching. Because of this, we didn't get a chance to explore the grounds as much as I would have liked, but we did walk around some before showtime. Noelle was the first to point out a particularly lovely view of the mountains from a corner of the grounds near the Tent Club.

We had seats in the Koussevitzky Music Shed. On our way to finding them, an older gentlemen usher stopped us and said he always stops the pretty young ladies. He proceeded to play a game with Noelle, prompting her to pick a fist for a treat, eventually giving her a butterscotch candy. It was silly and sweet and I loved how kind the ushers were.

As we waited for the movie to start, we tried to spot the orchestra's violas, which from a distance are tough to distinguish from violins. (OK, I'll be honest, violas are tough for me to distinguish from violins close up, too. They look like slightly bigger violins and since Noelle plays a tiny student viola, everything looks bigger than hers!) She delighted in seeing how many violists were in the production and vowed to bring the program to her viola teacher to show him, as they often lament together about the lack of violists in the world.

When the orchestra took the stage and the movie started, it was magical. I don't know about you, but "The Wizard of Oz" always brings out the sentimental sap in me. From Dorothy's love of Toto, to her concert for Auntie Em, to the poor flammable Scarecrow, the movie has the ability to make me tear up. (As an aside, I was afraid that having read the "Wicked" series would make me cherish the move less, but that didn't seem to happen on this night, which was my first viewing of the movie since finishing the books.)

And now, having seen it with live music, it will always have the ability to make me appreciate the score of a movie. Of course I knew all of the songs by heart, but until this performance I don't think I paid that much attention to how many other scenes in the movie were accompanied by music.

There is indeed no place like home, and I'm truly blessed to have Tanglewood so close to my home.

Now for Noelle: I really liked the live concert. It was cool watching everybody else play. Watching the movie was super cool. I liked the bathrooms and the gift shop. I hope to someday play my viola on stage at Tanglewood. I would love to play my viola to my new favorite movie, "West Side Story." I would definitely go there again.

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