A bangin' time for dads, kids

Musical TheaterArts and CultureFather's DayGiuseppe VerdiVincent de Paul

Grant Sevdayan has a one-day opening for an anvil player with the Huntington Beach Symphony Orchestra. No experience is necessary, and no audition will be required.

Sevdayan, the musical director of the nonprofit orchestra that launched two years ago, tries to work at least one interactive segment into each of his shows.

Sunday, the orchestra has a Father's Day concert at the Huntington Beach Central Library, and Sevdayan needs a volunteer to bang on a genuine anvil.

Of course, they'll need to bang it in time. The piece in question is the "Anvil Chorus" from Giuseppe Verdi's opera "Il trovatore," and Sevdayan plans to pick someone from the crowd to provide an impromptu rhythm.

"I'll invite the bravest guy in the audience," he said.

The Torrance resident, who earned a master's degree in organ performance and orchestral conducting at USC, believes in a good show as much as a quality concert. And he hopes that will add up to enough cross-generational appeal to pack Sunday's audience with dads and their kids.

The show will feature about three dozen musicians as well as two dozen singers, including choir members from Saint Vincent de Paul Catholic Church in Huntington Beach, for which Sevdayan serves as organist and choir director. After a program of opera choruses and Disney classics, the ensemble will close with "America the Beautiful."

At one point, Sevdayan said, he intends to have the children's choir members march out into the audience. He got inspired to vary his staging approach when he went to see another orchestra a few years ago and found himself nodding off in the audience.

"It's very easy for the audience to drift away and think, 'OK, do I have bills to pay, or repair work, or is there something happening with my kid?'" Sevdayan said.

In the past, he's taught the audience the German lyrics to "Ode to Joy" and encouraged them to sing along. He intends to do the same with Sunday's program of Disney tunes, which will be led by a children's choir.

Erica Balogh, the orchestra's marketing vice president, said that communal spirit was important to her group — even if not everyone sang on key.

"Most people like to sing, even the ones with no musical talent," she said. "You feel more part of the event that way. One of our goals is to make music enjoyable for everyone."

If You Go

What: Huntington Beach Symphony Orchestra Father's Day Show & Sing Along

Where: Huntington Beach Central Library, 7111 Talbert Ave.

When: 2:30 p.m. Sunday

Cost: $25 for adults, $15 for seniors and students; accompanied children younger than 12 free

Information: (714) 274-5524 or http://www.hbsymphony.org

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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Musical TheaterArts and CultureFather's DayGiuseppe VerdiVincent de Paul
  • Grant Sevdayan, the music director of the Huntington Beach Symphony Orchestra, plans to use an anvil as part of the orchestra's Father's Day concert.

  • Grant Sevdayan, the music director of the Huntington Beach Symphony Orchestra, plays the organ at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church in Huntington Beach on Tuesday. He will use an anvil as part of the orchestra's Father's Day concert.

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