Family Christmas concerts: Christmas Swingalong and Christmas Magic
A festive family show for each city in December
When you’re in the business of children’s entertainment, a flexible attitude to costumes is a definite advantage. In the past few months alone, Owen Cox and Oliver Gunnell (aka Owen and Olly) have walked onstage in their dressing gowns, shiny lycra unitards and astronaut suits. Not to mention the bicycles they purloined from 5-year-olds and rode shakily up and down.
Suffice to say Owen and Olly are not afraid to channel their inner child while hosting a Children’s Classic Concert (CCC). Or throw in cultural references pertinent to their 4–14-year-old fan base. ‘We try to keep our finger on the pulse,’ says Olly, ‘but we also go with our instincts. If we think something is funny, enjoyable or entertaining then usually that translates well to our audiences.’
With two Christmas shows on the horizon, chances of the duo’s silliness abating is slim to none. But while fun is never far from the menu, the concerts Owen and Olly programme feature some seriously good music. First up, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra Big Band will give a jazzy feel to yuletide tunes in Christmas Swingalong. A week later in Glasgow, it’s time for Christmas Magic, an orchestral mix of festive classics, epic film scores and a touch of ballet.
Keeping the concerts fresh for young audiences is top of CCC’s agenda. But what holds Owen and Olly’s interest? ‘I think for us, it’s the privilege of working with so many fantastic musicians,’ says Olly, ‘and showcasing their skills to so many children at each concert. We also love the dressing up and larking around too – it’s like being a kid again, but getting to do it on stage.’
Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Sun 4 Dec; Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Sat 10 Dec.