I am a big city girl. I don’t want to live in the big city anymore, but that is where I grew up and how my childhood was shaped. So one of the things that I find difficult about living in a small town a good hour drive from a decent size city is that the educational and cultural opportunities are hard to find. But what I have learned, as with most aspects of living in the Sandhills, is that if you want something, you just have to put in the extra effort to make it happen.
For culture, I feel like my older child is finally ready to appreciate live theater and art. She has enjoyed it in the past, I do have a budding actress on my hands after all, but the cost and hassle hadn’t seemed worth it. Now, we are truly making the effort to make it work and managing to do it on a semi-local level. For the next few months, this is what we have planned.
- NC Symphony presents The Wizard of Oz. This was a fabulous way to introduce J to the symphony. The Wizard of Oz is one of her favorite movies and the symphony had a version of the film without the music track so that they could play it live while the movie was shown on a large screen over the conductor’s head. The great part was that she could see the symphony, asked questions about why they tune their instruments, and I was able to point out various instruments to her. Well worth the drive to Raleigh.
- The Nutcracker. What would the holiday season be without The Nutcracker? Even for a nice Jewish girl, I love being able to take J to see The Nutcracker and get an early appreciation for ballet. We have friends who are in the Taylor Dance production and continue to be awed by their version. This is J’s third year seeing the ballet and it is amazing to watch how her appreciation for it grows. She also has a much easier time sitting through the whole thing as her understanding grows. There are so many local productions of this, it is truly a great time to enjoy what our neighbors are producing.
- Tales of Enchantment. In January we will head back to the symphony hall to see Tales of Enchantment. Again, this is a great way to introduce the kids to the symphony. A special theater company is performing a piece they call “Mother Goose” in which Mother Goose is transformed to her younger self through the magic of classic fairy tales while the symphony plays the music of Ravel. Both girls will get to experience this one and it should be great.
- The Circus. In February, Ringling Brothers comes back to Raleigh on their yearly visit. This is a completely different kind of culture, but great live entertainment for kids of all ages. This will be our second time going and should be great fun.
- Charlotte’s Web. In March, The Playhouse is putting on a production of Charlotte’s Web. While these shows are primarily aimed at families with kids in the actual shows and seating is quite limited, our calendar is marked to make every effort to be at this show. If the production had been for kids in her age group, J would probably have been in the play, but instead we will happily support local theater to see another of her favorite books performed.
- Rapunzel! A Very Hairy Fairy Tale – The day after we see Charlotte’s Web, we will head back to Raleigh to see a musical retelling of the classic fairy tale at the Progress Energy Center. Obviously, we are into stage shows and music and all things girly, but I also can’t wait for J to see the non-Disnified version of this classic tale.
At one point in the past year, we had been considering flying to NYC to see Annie on Broadway. I had always been frustrated that I couldn’t immerse my girls in the culture that I hold so dear in my heart. But it does exist locally. The drive to Raleigh isn’t so bad and if you keep your ear to the ground, you can find local productions too. Arts and culture fuel the soul. So glad I am starting to find a way to bring them into our lives.