Rice’s Shepherd School mesmerizes families at Musical Stories Family Concert

Shepherd School Family Concert

Combining the enchantment of music with the allure of artful storytelling, Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music celebrated another successful iteration of its annual family concert March 23, showcasing the musical talents of Shepherd School students while serving as an example of Rice’s commitment to fostering creativity and cultural enrichment within the community.

Families had the chance to meet Shepherd School student musicians and their instruments in the Stude Concert Hall lobby before the concert. Young audience members were able to see a clarinet, viola, cello and bassoon up close, hear the unique sounds they create and ask questions of the musicians they would soon see on stage.

Under the baton of conductor Andrew Grams, the Shepherd School Symphony Orchestra performed an hour-long concert of Rimsky-Korsakov’s masterpiece “Scheherazade,” inspired by tales from “One Thousand and One Nights.” Listeners were transported to distant lands and immersed in the magic of storytelling through music, building an appreciation for orchestral music among attendees of all ages.

During the concert, the audience learned about the instruments that make up the string, woodwind, brass and percussion sections, and everyone got a handheld fan featuring one of the sections. Each section played a role in the story of Scheherazade — the brass represented an angry Sultan, while the strings took on the character of the brave princess Scheherazade, who shared exciting tales with the sultan. The conductor encouraged young listeners to wave their fans when each instrument section was highlighted during the performance, creating a flourish of activity and excitement throughout the hall.

“The Musical Stories Family Concert truly celebrates the intersection of music, art and community with Houston families,” said Shepherd School Dean Matthew Loden. “Events like this play a crucial role in fostering a love for music and creative expression among families of all backgrounds. We are proud to open our doors to the community, giving families an easy way to come together, be inspired and create lasting memories through joyful engagement with music and art.”

The fun continued after the concert at the nearby Moody Center for the Arts, where families rolled up their sleeves to create marbled paintings with shaving cream and watercolor, inspired by the works of exhibiting artist Hayv Kahraman.