Tom Turkey struts in for Thanksgiving concert

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November 15th, 2012

Omaha, NE – The Omaha Children’s Museum and the Omaha Chamber Music Society are teaming up to produce a tasty treat just in time for Thanksgiving.

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Tough Turkey in the Big City is an educational and entertaining work originally written by Bruce Adolphe for the Lincoln Center’s Children’s Concerts. It will be performed beginning Saturday and Monday by members of the Omaha Chamber Music Society along with narrator Hal France.

“Tough Turkey in the Big City” will be staged at the Omaha Children’s Museum Saturday, Nov. 17 and Monday, Nov. 19. (Photo by Robyn Wisch)

Performer and Omaha Chamber Music Society Board Member Jay Wise said Tough Turkey is similar to Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, in that each character is portrayed by a different instrument. The choice of instrument to play the protagonist, Tom Turkey, might be surprising. It’s “played by the bass trombone and his song is kind of jazzy,” Wise said. (Click the audio button above to hear snippets of Tom Turkey’s song)

Wise said the story begins with Tom Turkey’s curiosity about the big city. “Tom Turkey gets interested in seeking his fortune in the big city,” Wise said. “He’s kind of tired of life on the farm. He talks to his friends. They’re all afraid, they all say ‘I like life on the farm,’ and so he decides he’s going to the big city all by himself.”

Tom has all kinds of adventures, Wise said, and the music develops alongside the plot. “There’s a pretty big fight scene, so that music gets kind of violent, and there’s a big chase scene, so we hear Tom running and running. The music definitely helps move the story along and tell the story,” he said.

The music also portrays characters’ emotions and moods, Wise said. “There’s a point in the story where Tom is walking down Broadways and he sees Midge the Pigeon, and he falls instantly in love.” (Click the audio button above to hear what “Tom sounds like when he’s kind of lovesick.”)

The Omaha Chamber Music Society presents Bruce Adolphe’s Tough Turkey in the Big City at the Omaha Children’s Museum Saturday, Nov. 17 and Monday, Nov. 19. Performances are at 9:30 and 11 a.m.

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