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Music tells a story.
It can tell a story from the standpoint of the composer or song-writer, but often the interpretation of the story can vary from person to person.
For Infinitus, a strong trio that brings a splash of beatboxing into the mix, music is much more than just something to have on in the background – it’s magic and next month they hope to weave a spell for local kids as part of the Aurora Cultural Centre’s family-friendly Kaleidoscope Music Series.
The Aurora Cultural Centre will present Infinitus: From Handel to Hip-Hop on Saturday, February 8 at 2 p.m., a show perfect for kids five and up.
From Handel to Hip-Hop is “a 50-minute highly engaging and interactive music presentation,” according to the Centre.
“This dynamic trio engages every audience member with music ranging from familiar classical standards to classic rock, and from TV theme songs to hip-hop beatboxing. It’s everything from the Flight of the Bumblebee to the theme from Star Wars!”
Founded in 2008 by violinist Anthony Cheung, cellist Alex Cheung and violinist John “Addidam” Littlejohn, the Vancouver-based Infinitus began performing for children and families after recognizing a gap when they settled in Canada from the United States.
“We knew it was missing,” says Mr. Littlejohn of developing a program of classical music geared towards budding music lovers. “All of us grew up in the Midwest, and there every school has an orchestra. I was exposed to orchestra instruments and playing the violin around Grade 6. It was something I was able to do for free, paid through taxes, and we just had it kind of inherently. I played in band all the way through high school, always doing shows for younger students to inspire them.
“When we left school and moved to different places, [we found] they didn’t have it as much. We thought these kids are not exposed to these instruments on a regular basis and some don’t have the opportunity to play. We also found there were a lot of misconceptions about what the instruments are.”
Together, they aim to spark creativity, showing kids how to create and foster their own imaginations.
All too often their string instruments are associated with the classics, and not enough young listeners connect the music they make to the tunes they’re currently streaming.
“Some of the audiences we play for, when they walk into the theatre and see three string players, we have kids have this, ‘aah, this is going to be boring’ feeling,” says Mr. Littlejohn. “As soon as you play things they recognize, that they think is relatable, we catch their ear and once we get their ear, we can bring then in.
“Music tells the story and it has been telling the story. People are used to music only being background to something visual. When you sit down and have music as the main event and you help people hear just this music without any words – and we’re beatboxing and doing all these different things – the music is telling the story. There’s a real connection because when you listen to music without a visual image and it tells you the story, it tells you the story you need to hear because everyone is hearing it in their own way. They hear the same thing, but they interpret it differently, they feel it differently, so it is a much broader experience than if you’re watching a movie or playing a video game.
“We like to spark creativity and use our show to encourage our audiences to create things and we let every kid know they have an imagination. We end by asking kids to be discerning about what they listen to when they leave. We say, ‘Every time you hear music, see if you can find the story.’ If it is a really great story or a story you love, listen to lots of that music. If it is a story that is giving you negative messages or making you feel bad about yourself, you don’t have to listen to every story someone wants to tell you.”
Infinitus’ From Handel to Hip-Hop presentation, part of the Aurora Cultural Centre’s Kaleidoscope Family Series, will take place Saturday, February 8 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 each, or $48 for a family four-pack. For more, including tickets, visit auroraculturalcentre.ca or call the Box Office at 905-713-1818.
By Brock Weir