In Canary Warf for a couple of weeks over September, nestled amongst all the glass and steel, was a rather fine Spiegeltent. It hosted a huge amount of brilliant evening entertainment (Alex Horne! Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer! Caberet!) and a rather fine lineup of family activities too.
Last week, the kiddos and I travelled down to check out a session of Bach to Baby at the Spiegeltent. Bach to Baby is a series of classical concerts featuring top class musicians. Our concert was to feature Lucy Wakeford, the principal harpist at the Royal Opera House.
As we entered the Spiegeltent, the first thing we saw was the beautiful golden harp. It was placed in the centre of the tent, so families sat all around Lucy during the concert creating a lovely intimate atmosphere. The concert wasn’t ‘dumbed down’ for the children at all. I’m no classical music expert, but these types of concerts aimed at families could so easily be just have a few renditions of the super popular works, a sort of ‘Now That’s What I Call Classical Music’ type of gig, but the selection of pieces played at Canary Warf wasn’t like that at all. While the adults treated the event like a normal concert, the children didn’t at all! Most seemed to be of toddling or crawling age (Betsy was the oldest there by far), and they all explored and wondered around. The beauty of Bach to Baby is that it’s totally fine for the children to do this and it was rather lovely to see how attractive this shiny harp was – I think every child in there tried to touch the instrument at some point, and there were others who likes to sit under the harpist’s stool or have a look at the scores.
We heard four pieces, which was just enough before the small audience got too restless. Betsy was super still through most of it and even curled up to me at one point, a sure sign she’s listening and finding things interesting. I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I was really looking forward to Arthur’s reaction to the whole thing, but sadly the excitement of travelling on the DLR to get there meant that he fell asleep for the majority of the performance. So disappointing, but he did wake up just in time for the last section of the concert, where everyone was invited to sit really close to the harp and we all sang nursery rhymes. This was led by Bach to Baby’s founder Miaomiao Yu and accompanied by Lucy on the harp. Literally the most cultured Old Macdonald Had A Farm to be ever heard.
I’ve always thought it important to expose children to all sorts of music, and Bach to Baby is a great way to introduce them to classical music and I’m so glad we came across the Spiegeltent too, what a fantastic venue and in an area I wouldn’t have thought of brining the kids to. Turns out, that although it’s busy with workers (obviously), there’s tons to explore with the little ones and if you arrive there by Docklands Light Railway, it’s a proper little adventure. Betsy is dying to go back on the ‘magic train’ (no driver!) and explore this futuristic part of the city.
We were provided tickets for reviewing purposes, all opinions are my own, obviously. Do keep an eye out on the Canary Warf website, there always seems to be something on.