Cascade Symphony hosts Children’s Concert – ‘Paddington Bear’s First Concert’ – Feb. 8 at Edmonds Center for the Arts

Ruohan Huang

The Cascade Symphony Orchestra will host its annual children’s concert, performing “Paddington Bear’s First Concert,” at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 8, at the Edmonds Center for the Arts (ECA), 410 4t’h Ave. North.

Paddington Bear is a fictional character featured in more than 20 books for children by British author Michael Bond. “Paddington Bear’s First Concert” tells the story of when this bear arrives in London from darkest Peru. He is found by Mr. and Mrs. Brown at the Paddington Train Station; they name him Paddington, for the place where they meet him. The Browns help introduce Paddington to music and he dreams of one day becoming a conductor. Dave Dolacky, longtime Seattle on-air personality for KISW-FM and KVI-Radio, will narrate this musical story.

The children’s concert will feature an 11-year-old soloist — pianist Ruohan Huang — who was selected by Cascade Symphony conductor Michael Miropolsky as winner of the orchestra’s 2019-20 “Rising Star” competition. She is a resident of Sammamish and a sixth grade student at Evergreen Middle School in Redmond. She was chosen from a distinguished group of young musicians from the Pacific Northwest.

As the Rising Star, Ruohan will perform the first movement of Mozart Piano Concerto No. 17 in G major, K. 453, with the Cascade Symphony.

Previously, she has participated in each Central Washington University Sonatina Festival between 2015 and 2018, winning two gold medals and one silver medal, along with gaining honorable mention recognition during that four-year period. In 2019 she won a silver medal at the Chopin Northwest Festival, a gold medal at the Pacific NW Piano Competition, and a gold medal at the Bellevue Symphony Competition, earning the opportunity to perform with that orchestra at its Fall Extravaganza Concert.

Ruohan began learning the piano in 2015, under the guidance of James Chen. She currently is a student of Yelena Balabanova at the International Conservatory Studio.

Other musical offerings will be performed by the Cascade Percussion Ensemble, directed by Ian Alvarez. They include: “Dance of the Buffoons from the Snow Maiden” (composed by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov), “Aquarium from the Carnival of the Animals” (Camille Saint-Saens), “Hungarian Dance No. 5” (Johannes Brahms) and “Comedians’ Gallop” (Dmitry Kabalevsky).

At 2 p.m., before the concert begins, children will be invited to experience a “petting zoo” in the ECA lobby. But instead of animals, children of all ages will be allowed to try and play musical instruments used by the orchestra, under the guidance of multiple instructors.

The Edmonds-based Cascade Symphony Orchestra, sponsor of the “Rising Star” competition since 2009, has been promoting young musicians and encouraging music education in the schools for many years. The “Rising Star” competition is for pianists and violinists 12-years-of-age and younger on the day of the concert, and musicians 15 and younger of other symphonic instruments.

Ticket prices for this concert are $10 for adults and seniors, $5 for students with an ID, and $3 for youngsters 12 and younger. Tickets are available at the ECA box office, online at www.ec4arts.org, or by calling 425-275-9595.

Additional information about the Cascade Symphony and its upcoming concerts is available at www.cascadesymphony.org. Further information about the “Rising Star” program is available at www.cascadesymphony.org/rising-star-competition/.

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