Family Concerts mark 10 years

by Rosanne Pellegrini | News & Public Affairs
Family concert production of 'The Magic Flute' from 2011
A scene from the Music Department Family Concert series production of 'The Magic Flute' in 2011. The series marks its 10th anniversary this year. (Photo by Caitlin Cunningham)
Art & Culture / Music | January 28, 2016

An afternoon of opera scenes from such perennial favorites as "The Magic Flute," "Hansel and Gretel" and "Brundibar" will mark the 10th anniversary of the Music Department's Family Concert series.

The Jan. 31 event, which takes place at 4 p.m. in Lyons 423, will be an interactive performance for all ages, featuring Boston College students, faculty and alumni. Scenes will be staged from all previous productions, with instrumental selections by Bach and Saint-Saëns. Admission is free.

For series founder and artistic director Barbara S. Gawlick, a lecturer in the Music Department, the anniversary resonates both professionally and personally. "I began Family Concerts at BC when my daughter Natasza was 12, and [she was] a soloist in many of our productions. Now she is a senior at BC."

Gawlick said the concert's one-decade mark is "a perfect opportunity to bring some BC alumni back to the stage. I think this retrospective program will flow beautifully and offer great variety."

A half-dozen BC students are involved in the performance: four singers, a solo pianist and a solo cellist. The experience is an important one for the students, according to Gawlick. "They have a chance to serve the community with their musical talent, learn new pieces and work with alumni who became professional musicians.

"It is also important to allow the talents of faculty, students and alumni to be seen and heard on campus. These concerts allow whole families to experience music together; it is a form of music education for all," she said.

A highlight of the Family Concerts events is audience participation. The actors will pose questions to the audience, children will help in acting out scenes, and there will be a quiz with prizes at the end of the concert.

"We have built a good following," said Gawlick. "Some families come back every year and it is special to see the kids grow, [and] their younger siblings join in. It will be so interesting for kids and families to revisit music they heard before."

While Natasza Gawlick '16 will not be performing this time around, she feels fortunate to have participated for several years.
"It was always an enriching experience to be able to work with performers of a variety of ages [from five-25]. As a teen, I loved working with BC students because they were always so supportive, fun and were great role models. I'm lucky that I get to be on the other side of that now; even though I won't be performing, I'm still backstage helping the singers get ready, steadying any nerves, and giving them any cues!

"It's a wonderful experience for both the audience and performers, and my mom does an amazing job including everyone—those watching and singing."

For information, contact 617-552-2514 or email