Music News & Reviews

Free kids concert at UPS a blend of original, classic, Beatles music

A free Jacobsen Junior concert will offer an hour of family entertainment Saturday at the University of Puget Sound.

This year’s show will feature Pecos Bill in his 10-gallon hat, along with Peter and the Wolf, plus some music from The Beatles. Throughout the performance, the instruments will take the lead in voicing the adventures of these colorful characters, while a narrator fills in the details of their stories, said show creator and School of Music professor Duane Hulbert.

“We aim to give kids that ‘Ah ha’ moment where they discover an instrument they love or the joys of music,” Hulbert said in a news release.

The show includes “The Wild Adventures of Pecos Bill,” an original musical Hulbert wrote three years ago while on an artists retreat at a ranch near Saratoga, Wyoming. Pecos Bill is an American folklore character who fell out of his family’s covered wagon, only to be rescued and raised by coyotes. As the story goes, the experience must have been energizing, because the rootin’-tootin’ cowboy went on to ride tornadoes, dig the Grand Canyon and use rattlesnakes for lassos.

The narration is accompanied by 14 players on string, brass, wind, percussion and piano. The ensemble will be conducted by Gerard Morris, the school’s director of bands.

The performance also includes Sergei Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf,” the children’s classic about a Russian farm boy who tries to capture a hungry wolf that is menacing his family’s farm animals. The instruments take on the voices of the animals, Hulbert said. The piece will be performed by a student wind quintet from Puget Sound’s School of Music.

“Penny Lane,” from the Beatles’ “Magical Mystery Tour” album, will be performed by a brass quintet.

Hulbert and his wife, Judy Carlson Hulbert, who writes narrations for shows, have been leading the Jacobsen Junior concerts for more than a decade. The goal, he said, is to keep Tacoma’s music culture alive by inspiring the next generation.

The series, named for Leonard Jacobsen, former chairman of the university’s piano department, has been running since 1984.

After the show: Children in the audience will be able to talk to the musicians and inspect their instruments, a kind of “musical petting zoo” that has become a tradition at the concert.

When: 2 p.m. Saturday.

Where: Schneebeck Concert Hall, University of Puget Sound, 1500 N. Warner St., Tacoma.

Cost: Free, and no tickets are required.