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West Akron Concerts for Kids
May 11 at 10:00 am
The Akron Symphony Orchestra’s popular Concerts for Kids series returns with Tubby the Tuba at The House of the Lord in Akron.
Did You Know?
It was an off-handed comment by a perturbed tuba player that gave rise to one of the world’s most beloved children’s recordings. One evening in late 1941, lyricist Paul Tripp and composer George Kleinsinger were conducting an orchestral rehearsal of one of their works when their resident tubist informed them afterward, “You know, tubas can sing too.”
That night, or so legend has it, Tripp went home and conceived of a deceptively simple story, to be told in music and spoken word, focusing on the plight of the largest, lowest and usually most disrespected instrument in the orchestra.
About the Musicians
Eric Benjamin, Conductor
Eric Benjamin is Associate Conductor of the Akron Symphony Orchestra and Music Director of the Akron Youth Symphony. Active as a composer and arranger, Eric’s works have been performed by orchestras nationally. Eric is a committed educator and has taught music at the elementary, secondary and college level.
Ken Heinlein, Principal Tuba
Ken Heinlein holds the position of Principal Tuba with the Akron Symphony Orchestra. He also teaches tuba, euphonium, and brass chamber music at Kent State University and the Baldwin Wallace University Conservatory of Music. Ken also performs with the Erie Philharmonic and the Kent Brass Quintet, and has also performed with the Grand Rapids Symphony, the Rochester Philharmonic, and the Cleveland Orchestra. This year, he will also be performing a series of concerts for children with the Cleveland Orchestra Musical Rainbows series titled “The Terrific Tuba.”
Ken holds a Master of Music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music where he studied with Ronald Bishop and a Bachelor of Music degree from Central Michigan University where he studied with Mark Cox. He currently resides in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he is pursuing a Doctorate of Musical Arts at the University of Michigan with Fritz Kaenzig.
Dennis O’Connell, Magical Theatre Company
Dennis grew up with a fertile imagination pretending to be all manner of characters — some real such as Daniel Boone and Willie Mays; some created by others such as Huckleberry Finn and Snaggelpuss; and others created by himself that resembled pirates, gorillas, cowboys, explorers, cheetahs and even elephants. Yes, elephants. To this day he can’t bypass a cable show about elephants — even if he’s already seen it six times.
These characters and others came to life in his backyard, his bedroom, and at Hardesty Park where he also roamed with his sister, brothers and neighborhood cronies. Together they played games and made up their own, such as the now famous Grey Wolf (well, famous to about 12 kids in two square blocks). All that playing led to places where he became more and more immersed in playing: plays at school, plays at local theatres, plays at college. Eventually, plays on the road that actually paid him to play. And finally, to Magical Theatre Company where he has played the last 24 years. Here he has all sorts of wonderful playmates — some kids, some adults — and of course, the best playmate of all, his wife, Holly.