During the Instrument Petting Zoo, members of the Saratoga Orchestra show how their instruments work and encourage children to take a toot, strum or drum. (Photo by Patricia Guthrie/Whidbey News Group)

During the Instrument Petting Zoo, members of the Saratoga Orchestra show how their instruments work and encourage children to take a toot, strum or drum. (Photo by Patricia Guthrie/Whidbey News Group)

Learn how a trombone toots and a drum rolls

Saratoga Orchestra presents annual ‘Petting Zoo’ with holiday concert

Saratoga Orchestra’s annual free family holiday concert and Instrument Petting Zoo begins Saturday, Dec. 8 with a performance in Langley followed by shows Saturday, Dec. 15 in Coupeville and Oak Harbor.

One hour prior to a performance of “Peter and the Wolf,” the young and young-at-heart are encouraged to check out the magic of music. Members of the orchestra explain how their instruments make sound and encourage children to tap a drum, strum a harp or toot a trumpet.

“It’s a user-friendly concert,” said Larry Heidel, executive director. “It’s a way for kids and some adults who are not familiar with orchestra to learn about it.

“We have instruments out for them to look at and they really interact with the musicians.”

Music Director Anna Edwards will lead the orchestra in a performance of “Peter and the Wolf,” a timeless classic where each character of the story is represented by different musical instruments. It was composed in 1936 by Sergei Prokofiev.

The mission of the nonprofit Saratoga Orchestra includes entertaining, educating and enriching through music; fostering local talent and enhancing the awareness and reputation of Whidbey Island as a cultural destination.

High school students are regularly selected to play with the orchestra and it offers educational opportunities to local elementary schools in the spring.

Its season continues through April.

The January performance, Simply Strings “Northern Lights” features the chamber ensemble in Baroque music and special guest artist, Tekla Cunningham on violin. Concerts are Jan. 26 in Langley and Jan. 27 in Coupeville.

In April, “Musical Metamorphosis” joins together the Saratoga Orchestra with the Seattle Collaborative Orchestra in presenting the “Miracle Concerto.” Pianist Mark Salman will be featured as soloist April 5 in Seattle and April 6 on Whidbey Island.

Saratoga Orchestra’s “Peter and the Wolf” free concert and Instrument Petting Zoo schedule:

Saturday, Dec. 8, Langley: 1 p.m. petting zoo; 2 p.m. concert; Island Church of Whidbey.

Saturday, Dec. 15, Coupeville: 10 a.m. petting zoo; 11 a.m. concert; Coupeville High School Commons.

Saturday Dec. 15, Oak Harbor: 2 p.m. petting zoo, 3 p.m. concert; First Reformed Church.

For more information, call 360-929-3045 or see www.sowhidbey.com

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