Hey, all — this week contained two more firsts for your Food & Fun reporter. I attended my first holiday concert by the Topeka Symphony Orchestra and my first “Nutcracker” recital, performed by the Kansas Ballet Academy — both on the same day.
On Wednesday, I joined hundreds of middle school students at TPAC for the annual recital, and the energy the audience brought was infectious. While I’m sure some kids were just excited to be out of class, there was some genuine excitement, apparent even among the immediate rows around me.
Even at the student level, I was stunned by the overall talent of the company, especially the guest performers. My favorite audience comment was a teacher walking her roughhousing students to their seats, who said: “This is a ballet, not a football game. Behave yourselves.”
At the symphony, I approached the evening with what I thought was a pretty reasonable expectation — but again, I left the concert hall in a more festive mood than I’ve been in all year. The musicians were flawless. The idea to perform the score to an animated short film was so unique and captivating, I left with a whole new appreciation for the detail and skills in sound engineering.
The most touching moment for me was after “The Snowman” ended, the woman next to me was crying. Whether it was in awe of the performance, a reaction to the ending or even just some past memories that caused the tears, it stuck with me. The holidays aren’t always an easy time for people, but experiences like Wednesday remind me to take the time to make memories and to do so with the people you love.