The proposal to dance with the orchestra was scary for most of the children, who had never been close to some of the instruments before. Intently watching a conservatory student open a bassoon case, one disappointed youngster cried, "Oh, look! It's broke!" After 10 rehearsals, the youngsters had learned to readily identify each instrument and were blissfully confident of their performance skills, as they became creatures of the woodlands, moving to the music between narrative portions read by Richard Anderson.
Shawn Charton, trained as a singer, learned new skills, too. He discovered that the clothes he wore made a difference--the white baton showed up best against solid black--and that conductors require specific techniques and a sustained air of friendly command. One of the most rewarding moments came when he opened this fan letter from a tiny member of the MAD group: "Dear Shaum, I really liked the way you conduced. I liked the way you moved your hands. Was it hard to memorize all those motions?"
In retrospect, Shawn says, "No, not at all, not at all."