I’ve never been to Coventry Cathedral but recently we combined our love of music with Christmas and headed off there for The Snowman Tour concert. I’d seen it advertised a while back, and as N loves the Snowman and quite enjoyed the Paddington concert last year, I booked for us to go.
I’d planned for it to be a good festive treat with us spending the afternoon in Coventry. I’d hoped to check out the transport museum that I’d been recommended, have some tea and then go to the concert but of course N was kicking up and didn’t want to go out earlier. Instead we headed out in plenty of time to get parking and find where we were going. While the parking for the cathedral is nearby (and cheap on weekends), don’t count on getting a space in the car parking signposted cathedral parking. The queues were ridiculous waiting for cars to come out before being let in, so we dodged round and went to a pretty empty car park the other side of the road.
With only a 5 minute walk we were still there in plenty of time and I whisked N past the festive fairground outside. The cathedral was beautifully lit up, and for those who wanted food beforehand or after, there was an igloo with street food being sold.
There was a queue to get inside due to sheer numbers, but it moved fast and it wasn’t long before we were heading to our section and seats.
We were seating a few rows back from the front so perfect to see most of the stage. Thankfully the pillar was to our left and didn’t divide us. I don’t think any of the seating plans had mentioned those so I’d have been a little annoyed if I’d found us sitting around one of those. For children you could buy little treat packs – 2 confectionery items and a drink. N had already eaten all the food I’d taken with us (the joys of concerts being around tea time), so I ended up buying him a pack too.
The concert was lovely. It was performed by an orchestra of local professional musicians, playing a Christmas Overture, music from The Nutcracker and The Snowman. For the initial overture it was just the orchestra playing and then they launched into a humorous introduction to the instruments of the orchestra, with each group playing well known pieces to show off their sounds. With the introductions we had pictures up on the screen and this got us prepared for The Nutcracker.
Being a ballet fan from way back, I was pleased to see some of the best music chosen, all played to mini films depicting the lands of the sweets that fitted the music. We saw and heard Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy (she was a bit creepy looking), the Toy Soldiers, Waltz of the Flowers, and the character dances. N kept poking his head up. Embarrassingly he decided he didn’t want to watch the film or the orchestra and spend most of first half colouring in! The film reminded me of Fantasia although minus Disney. The Snowman also made an appearance much to N’s excitement that ‘he’s just like the real Snowman on the film.
There was a break (tip, use the outdoor toilets where there was no queue rather than the ones down in the basement of the cathedral) but we couldn’t find the café so gave up – and then I had N moaning he was still hungry. It was a relaxed concert so we headed outside to get some fresh air before getting back to our seats. Thankfully it wasn’t then long before The Snowman was on.
It’s amazing how the conductor can time the music from the orchestra exactly with the film on the screen. It was magical to watch and hear the music live. N was very excited to see a boy singing Walking in the Air and we then had to have a discussion about how old the boy might be. As ever, of course it was a little teary seeing the snowman melt.
The Snowman part had perked up N and it meant he was buzzing as we left to head back to the car. I’ll try and look out for similar concerts in future years, because it really makes you feel festive, as well as introducing children to live music they may otherwise not see or hear.
Do you see any festive concerts each year? Have you seen The Snowman concert?
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