Well? Would you? I know I would. Unfortunately I never have. But on Sunday I saw a ten-year old do just that! She stepped up nervously into the driving seat. And after a grown-up started her off, there was no turning back—off she roared!!! It was amazing. A ten-year old driving a finely-tuned racing car at top speed. What a sound it made…

You don’t believe a word I’m saying, do you? But it’s true. It really is!

No? You still don’t believe me? Perhaps, then, I should say that the car was called ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’—or CBSO for short.

Hang on… how does CBSO make ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’?

By being so finely-tuned that’s how!!!

OK. Time to make sense! What am I on about? Well, I’m on about yet another fantastic children’s concert by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) that took place last Sunday (see Another great children&#8217s concert! for an article about the previous children’s concert). Did you go? If not, you missed out on a lot of fun (and if you don’t believe that, then you can ask my two daughters!).

The theme of last Sunday’s concert was ‘The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra’. This is the name of a piece of music by the British composer Benjamin Britten (you can see a video of part of this piece on the Britten page). It is a piece of music specially written for children to demonstrate the different instruments of a symphony orchestra.

So the idea of the concert was to show off all the different instrument in the CBSO. And show off they did! Highlights included a musical sunrise (complete with lighting effects), brass instruments at different places in the concert hall, trumpets played by supermen (yes, the trumpet players tore off their jackets to reveal their true identities…) and ‘Flight of the Bumblebee’ played on a tuba!! Now if you don’t know ‘Flight of the Bumblebee’ then take a look at the first video below. And if you don’t know about tubas then take a look at the next video below. Now imagine the two together! It’s not easy is it? But the CBSO tuba player showed us that it really can be done (is he still recovering, I wonder?)!

But we didn’t just hear (and see) this music. We also had two members of the CBSO running all round the orchestra telling us about the different instruments (and then dashing back to their place to play their own instrument—once they had caught their breath!). What more could you ask for?

What? Oh, you want to ask what’s all this got to do with driving a world class racing car? Well our gallant presenters didn’t just tell us about the different instruments. They also told us about what a conductor does—you know, that funny guy who stands at the front of an orchestra flapping his arms about. And then they went one step further. They chose a ten-year old girl from the audience to come up and conduct the CBSO! And what did they play? They played ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’.

Have you figured it out this racing car thing yet? No? Well, this ten-year old was at the front of the CBSO. She was in the driving seat. She was in charge of a world class orchestra. Each instrument of this orchestra is finely tuned—like the parts of a racing car. And when all these instruments are put together—wow! You can really race!

As I said, this ten-year old drove a finely-tuned racing car at top speed. What a sound it made… Wouldn’t you just love to do that? I know I would!!


So why am I telling you all this? To get you to go to the CBSO’s children’s concerts, that’s why. Nag your parents. Bribe your parents. And if all else fails, take your parents!

The next CBSO children’s concert is on Sunday 7th November. The theme is ‘To Infinity and Beyond’… Be there, or… or… go on, just be there!!


The Flight of the Bumblebee


A tuba being played

Video credits:
  1. Maksim plays Original of Flight of the Bumble Bee. MAKSIM The World Premiere Performance. Rachmaninoff-Rimsky-Korsakoff:Flight of the Bumble Bee.
  2. Paranoid – Tuba Solo.Yes, it’s that famous hit by everyone in black’s favorite heavy metal band, Black Sabbath. Words and music were written by Frank Iommi, John (Ozzy) Osbourne, William Ward, and Terence Butler. This is just a little bass diddy, nothing more. Have a nice day.