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A field trip to the San Diego Symphony turns magical

Updated: May 6, 2022

By Patty Bowman, Program Administrator, ArtsBusXpress

San Diego Symphony performance

When I was in third grade, it was my first year at a new school, and Christmas break was excitedly approaching. One afternoon in class our teacher told us that we would be going on a field trip just before break. We would be going to the symphony and we needed to wear our best clothes as it would be a fancy event. She had me at "best clothes"!

I remember the day was finally here and the excitement I felt as I arrived at school and saw all my classmates in dresses and suits, hair done, and wearing what they felt were their best shoes. Soon we were lined up to make our way onto the bus; we had no idea the magic we were about to experience.

We quickly shuffled from the school bus when we arrived at the venue. We were lined up outside, counted, and told to follow our chaperones inside. As we entered through the doors the room opened up into a glorious theatre. It seemed like something out of a fairy tale. It was decorated for Christmas in deep reds, bright whites and glistening golds. There was a magnificent platform upfront that looked like it went on forever. Rows of chairs were facing the stage filled with adult patrons, and many turned to look as we were escorted in. We were seated on a large red-carpeted area behind those seemingly luxurious seats, incensed that we had been placed there just because we were children. But as the orchestra approached the stage we completely forgot our complaints and became entranced waiting to see what we would be experiencing.

My mom took us to the symphony quite often as children but this time was different for me. This time I got to see how magical it was for the other kids. Most of the students had never experienced the symphony; this was their first time and you could see the wonder of what was approaching. As the conductor entered the stage to applause, the giant red curtain opened to perfectly display the entire orchestra. Music started and the excitement grew. The symbol crashed, strings started to play quickly joined by the horn section. We all suddenly realized it was Christmas music they were playing. We knew the words to this music, music we loved and couldn’t wait to sing along to.

That’s when I knew why we were in the back. Kids couldn’t stay on their bottoms. Everyone was struggling not to jump up and dance, all of us singing along. At one point, Lonnie couldn’t take it anymore and shot up to his feet, the spirit of the music had taken over. He was quickly reseated by an adult, but we all felt what he was feeling.

It was such a wonderful surprise to hear all those songs we knew and loved. To feel like adults doing adult things in a kid way. I remember how much joy I got watching everyone else’s joy and that always stuck with me.

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