“Family concerts are among the most important events an orchestra can share with its community. The goal should be to provide an authentic concert experience along with an intriguing ‘hook’ which draws in new listeners of all ages. A family concert should have the entire audience leave the hall spinning from the event and eagerly anticipating the next. Most importantly, the orchestra always remains the star and the music, the center of attention.”
Sandra Dackow

Sandra Dackow’s Family Concerts draw large crowds and are usually centered on a theme (see partial listing below). She skillfully incorporates community groups (such as students musicians, dance troupes or other performing ensembles) onstage and draws together other cultural or historical strands into the performance A French-themed concert engaged local student French clubs and the Alliance Francais chapter for the singing of the French National Anthem, while the “2001 space Odyssey” was marketed to Star Trek and Star Wars fans who were invited to attend in costume. Local Handbell Choirs have been incorporated into works with orchestra while dancers and gymnasts have been featured in starring roles.

Family Concert themes include:

  • 2001 - Space Exploration
  • Mostly Mozart
  • Best of the British
  • Carnival of Venice
  • Celtic Celebration (see sample program below)
  • From Russia with Love
  • Horses
  • Invitation to the Dance
  • Legends and Heroes
  • Route 66 - Hit the Road and Discover America!
  • Sousa Spectacular
  • Sports Concert (with tailgate party in parking lot)
  • Trek across Europe
  • Viva l’Amour - Viva La France!
  • Wiz Kids (Mozart, Mendelssohn, young soloists)
  • Salute to Men and Women in Uniform
  • Valentine’s Day Romance
  • Nights in Old Vienna
  • Spanish Eyes
  • Trains and other Transportation

Got an idea? New Family Concert ideas can be designed especially for your local orchestra!

Sandra Dackow

Family Concerts Booking Information

If you’d like more information on Family Concerts with Sandra Dackow, please Contact Sandra

Sample Theme Concert: Celtic Celebration

A recent Celtic Celebration Family Concert drew an audience of over 1,500 families and new listeners. The concert included kilts and tartans, bagpipes. Irish step dancers, movie characters, great music for orchestra and a lot of fun!


  • Introduction: Conductor “piped in” with bagpipes and “Braveheart” characters
  • Overture to Pirates of Penzance - Sir Arthur Sullivan
  • Molly on the Shore - Percy Granger (side-by-side with middle school youth orchestra)
  • Scottish Dances - Sir Malcolm Arnold
  • Irish Suite - Leroy Anderson
  • Lord of the Dance - Ronan Hardiman (featuring Irish Step dancers)

Contact Sandra for more information on planning Family Concerts


Side By Side

The opportunity for student musicians to collaborate with more experienced musicians is often referred to as a “Side-by-Side” event, and typically involves members of a youth orchestra sharing stands with professional counterparts. Side-by-Side events often include a working rehearsal and public performance.

The benefits are obvious:

  • both young and professional musicians enjoy learning from each other and making music together
  • parents receive a rare opportunity to hear their child making music on a “professional” level
  • audiences love applauding the next generation


While traditional Side-by-Side events with youth orchestras are a specialty of Sandra Dackow’s, she is unique in her ability to integrate the very youngest players (including first year players) into Symphony Concerts, as well. A noted arranger of educational music, she provides works especially written for these events (Overture to Orpheus in the Underworld, Overture t o William Tell and others) and brings the ability to organize, manage, tune and rehearse huge groups of young players. The result is an over-the-top educational experience for both the students and the members of the symphony.


Please Contact Sandra Dackow if you’d like more information on Side-by-Side concerts

Repertoire for Side-by-Side performances include:

  • Student trumpets and symphony orchestra - Triumphal March from Aida
  • Student percussion and symphony orchestra - Beethoven Turkish March
  • Student brass (woodwinds, percussion) and symphony orchestra – 1812 Overture
  • Suzuki students (strings) and symphony orchestra - Vivaldi Concerto in A minor, Dvorak Humoreske
  • Very young strings/string beginners and symphony orchestra - Overture to Orpheus in the Underworld (a guaranteed audience pleaser!)

Middle School (full or string) Orchestra combined with Professional Symphony Orchestra:

  • Trepak and Mother Ginger from the Nutcracker
  • Dance of the Tumblers (Rimsky-Korsakoff)
  • Russian Easter Overture (Rimsky Korsakoff)
  • Mozart Sleigh Ride (German Dance, K. 605)
  • Rienzi Overture (Wagner)
  • Finale, Symphony #2 (Tschaikowsky)
  • Mozart Posthorn Serenade

Repertoire for Orchestra combined with Beginning Strings or Beginning Band:

  • Finale: Music for the Royal Fireworks (Handel)
  • Les Toreadors from Carmen
  • Academic Festival Overture
  • Blue Danube



Thoughts from a recent audience member, and mother of four children

Dr. Dackow was outstanding in her conducting and in her interacting with the audience. She did an absolutely fantastic job of explaining the nuances of the various musical pieces, giving interesting historical and biographical information about the composers, and just generally making it a good, friendly, relaxing time for all ages.

Bravo! I hope you do something like this again next year, or sooner!
- Karen Weber

Sandra Dackow brings an educator’s background to Concerts for Young audiences. Concerts can be themed around literature, musical elements, and other unifying features. Multi media dimensions and special guests often play a role but the music and the orchestra remain the center of attention. Audience members are involved in singing, conducting, “playing” key rings, clapping, moving and interacting with the musicians on stage. Young Audience Concerts are fast paced, educational and entertaining, delighting children as well as parents and grandparents who participate in the activities as well. Every age will enjoy singing Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”, visiting the hands-on petting zoo for musical instruments, and conducting pieces in a variety of meters.

Young Audience

An educator and fluent commentator, Sandra Dackow can craft a Young Audience Concert from excerpts of virtually any subscription performance repertoire.


If you’d like more information on Young Audience Concerts with Sandra Dackow, please Contact Sandra.



More information coming soon