Easy tunes for Sunday

  • 2007-11-21
  • By Kimberly Kweder

MUSICAL FAMILY: Ieva (L), Vilija and Marija Pranskutesare all performers in the Family Concert Series.

VILNIUS - For the Pranskutes, playing the violin is a family affair.
Before 15-year-old Ieva Pranskute arms herself with bow and feverishly strokes the strings to produce classical music in front of hundreds of people at the Lithuanian National Philharmonic Hall, she's backstage tucking her little teddy bear safely into her instrument case.
The teddy bear, or "talismanas" (good luck charm), travels with her to every performance, according to her mother Vilija, a second violinist in the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra.

Ieva, her 12-year-old sister Marija, and Vilija are three of the nine musicians participating in the "Moms and Dads Make Music, and So Do We" performance at the Lithuanian National Philharmonic.
This is part of the Family Concert Series, designed to let people of all ages relax and enjoy classical, baroque, and a few jazz tunes on lazy Sunday afternoons.

Veronika Janatjeva, senior specialist at the National Philharmonic, said the producer of the series, Birute Urboniene, has organized the event since its beginning 10 years ago.
"The stage is occupied all the time. It's active, exciting and interdisciplinary," Janatjeva said.
Every performance begins at noon and lasts for about two hours. Some of the performances include theatrical pieces or puppet acts. In September, a group of participants acted out Sigitas Poskus' book "Dovile's Album" as a one-act musical story.

The Family Concert Series is also an international affair.
The Vilnius Conser-vatory Gospel Choir hosts the Nov. 25 performance. At least 250 singers representing 10 different groups from Latvia, Estonia, Sweden and Lithuania will sing in unison, older and younger generations together.

Jazz and blues interplayed with text from the Bible will echo throughout the Grand Hall in addition to solo numbers from the artistic director and conductor, Monica Tornquist.
Gospel project director Jonas Sakalauskas said the mix of older and younger generations in the singing groups will attract people to see some of their family members perform.
"I think it's important to have the concert series for all families because these days we have a big problem in children-and-parent relationships because they don't understand each other," Sakalauskas said.
"The mission of the series is to make connections between parents and children and helping them understand each others' cultures and music is a good way to help build communication between the two," Sakalauskas said.

As of Nov. 16, tickets for the Gospel performance were still available online. Most of the Family Concert Series performances are sold out in December due to the high volume of holiday events.
"One of the concepts of the series is to make it affordable to all families, and it shows in our bookings," Janatjeva said.
However, there's still a chance to reserve a ticket to "On the Christmas Morn," a staged concert with the one and only boys' youth choir in Lithuania, Azuoliukas, happening on Dec. 26.

Tickets for the Azuoliukas performance cost 10, 15 and 20 litas.
The Orchestral Series, Chamber Music Series, Jazz Series and the Family Series offer holiday music events at the Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Museum of Applied Art and the National Philhar-monic Hall.

Sunday concerts
Nov. 25, noon: Lithuanian Gospel Singers and Their Friends Meet in Vilnius
Tickets 10, 15, 20 litas