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Children's art and participation featured in Hot Summer Nights concert

Monday, July 14, 2014 | 4:52 p.m. CDT

The Missourian Minute is a regular video series of scenes from around mid-Missouri. These visual slices of life capture the sights and sounds of people and the activities they love.

COLUMBIA — The Missouri Theatre was bustling Wednesday evening for its Hot Summer Nights concert series. Children bounced and danced in their seats to the classical music, the occasional pair of light-up sneakers illuminating the dark rows of chairs. Parents walked up and down the aisles throughout the show, trying to calm crying babies or wear out hyper toddlers.

The Color of Music, an evening of art and classical music, took place Wednesday at the Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts. The event included a children's art contest, with submissions for the competition displayed behind the Missouri Symphony Orchestra as they played classics from Brahms and Beethoven.

Throughout the show, artist Kerry Mulvania Hirth stood on stage and taught the audience about synesthesia, a neurological phenomenon that causes the brain to combine two different senses, experiencing them as one.  

Hirth's synesthesia causes her to experience sight and sound at the same time, seeing bursts of color with every sound she hears. Hirth painted onstage as the orchestra played Mozart and Stravinsky, showing the audience how she experiences the music.

The event culminated in the award ceremony for the children's art contest. First place winners earned a $100 gift card, while runners up received money toward art classes at the Columbia Art League.

At the end of a well-behaved evening at the symphony, all the children in the audience were invited on stage to share a moment in the spotlight.

The children were brought up to co-conduct the orchestra alongside Kirk Trevor and Adam Bodony, the symphony's conductor and assistant conductor. Two children at a time would step onstage, with a line of waiting kids stretching to the back of the theater.

The children waved the batons around with wild, sweeping gestures, to cheers and laughs from the audience.


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