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Daddy-Daughter Date: The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

I recently attended the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra to witness magic. Atlanta Falcons Offensive Guard, Justin Blalock was the host and guest conductor for the Orchestra’s Side-By-Side Summer Concert of Student and Professional Musicians. He lead the combined orchestras in John Williams' popular “Raiders March” from the Indiana Jones films to conclude the show.

From the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra: In addition to this new partnership with the Atlanta Symphony, Mr. Blalock will continue to grow his work with The Justin Blalock Foundation, which targets students, ages 11-18, in the Greater Dallas and Greater Atlanta areas who participate in sports. The Foundation uses athletics and education as tools and motivators to strengthen family relationships, and create a new generation of successful student athletes and future role models in the community.
If you are a reader of this blog, you know I take my daughter out on Daddy-Daughter dates. This time around, my daughter and I got dressed up and hit the town on a balmy June evening in my own efforts to strengthen her background in music and to remind myself of the majesty that is classical music. I was transported back to when I was her age, listening to the strings, hearing the brasses chime in, jumping from fright as I was never prepared for the thunderous roar of the percussion instruments. To put all those instruments and people (both young and aspiring and professional and accomplished) together to produce music nearly brought my heart to tears.

What I forgot was how much I initially hated the experience myself.

Why I thought my daughter would be any different, than me as a child, was my belief that her being a girl excepted her from being a child. Although she loved the dressing up part, she fidgeted, put her fingers in her ears, refused to whisper when she spoke, occasionally kicked the chair in front of her and insisted on laying down across my lap. I was aware of the patience factor, but as the parent of a finicky child I did arrive to the venue later than I anticipated and presumed the shorter time on site would quell any impatience my daughter might develop. Not so, she started about 5 minutes after sitting down and kept on going for almost forty-five minutes straight. I read my program. I looked straight ahead through most of the program. I took deep breaths and remained civilized. Finally, I whispered a few strongly worded cautions in my duaghter's ear, which of course brought her to tears. But amazingly, she managed to cry in silence. Progress. She fell asleep during the drive home, a clear indication that she was tired from the get-go.

As I drove, I was reminded once again that I was a child a few decades ago, and not too thrilled during my "civilized" jaunts on the town with my parents to plays and concerts. But as a result of those jaunts I so vehemently protested, I quickly became a lover and player (on the piano) of classical music and have a love and appreciation for it that exists to this day. Moving forward, I will take my daughter again and again. I don't mind if she grows up not liking the genre. To each his (or her) own. But she will have an appreciation for it, not taught at school, not learned on Google or YouTube. But cultivated from the place she loves being most. Home.

Visit the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra online to learn more about the former scholar-athlete turned pro, Justin Blalock and the "When I Play Music" Campaign for Music Education.

Disclosure: I received complimentary tickets to attend the above described performance. The opinions and experiences expressed in the body of this article are entirely my own.

Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter at @EPayneTheDad.

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