My daughter, Neva, loves music. She and her dad have dance parties every morning before we all head our separate ways for the day. What could be a better way to couple my daughters love of music with an adventure at an outdoor concert in the mountains? So this summer we loaded up and headed to Burke Mountain Resort for a night with the Vermont Symphony Orchestra.

A toddler and orchestral music may not sound like your standard combination, but the VSO Summer Festival Tour is not your standard orchestral experience. The outdoor nature of the Summer Festival Tour makes it appropriate for the entire family. It was a no-fuss way to introduce my rock-loving toddler to the classics.

Vermont Symphony Orchestra at Burke Mountain

The Setting

Seating is first come, first served on a broad swath of lawn. I’s worth arriving a bit early to stake out a good spot. We tossed our blanket out close enough to see the musicians but far enough back so Neva could run around without disturbing anyone.

There’s plenty to do to keep the family occupied before the music starts, including hiking up and rolling down the hill, enjoying some nice Jasper Hill cheese and grape juice (adult and kid versions), and making our own music. The VSO team very kindly set up a tent with instruments of all kinds for younger audience members to try, including maracas, drums, violins, and a cello.

Kids playing drums
Neva had a blast trying out the instruments before the show.

The Music

Conductor Julian Pellicano put together a great program for the evening. Not only did we enjoy more traditional pieces such as John Williams’ “Liberty Fanfare” and “Overture to William Tell” by Rossini. The program included pieces that were described as “if happy was in musical form” that inspired many of the younger members of the audience to get up and dance. Clapping at the end of each piece may have actually been Neva’s favorite part.

Dancing toddler at Burke
Neva loves to dance!

Things to Bring

Headed to an outdoor music event? I’d suggest bringing at least a few of these items to ensure a perfect evening. First, check the event information to make sure everything you’re bringing is allowed.

  • Chairs
  • Blanket
  • Picnic & associated plates, cups, utensils
  • Bug spray
  • Sunscreen
  • Warm clothes
  • Camera
  • Flashlight
  • Hearing Protection

It was a surprisingly chilly evening, even for Vermont, and we’re glad we brought some layers to bundle up in. Towards the close of the evening, when my not quite-two-year-old was starting to display signs of tiredness, the hearing protection was great. They reduced the noise on John Phillip Sousa’s “The Thunderer” just enough.

Clapping toddler at Vermont Symphony Orchestra

By the end of the evening, my munchkin had just enough energy to walk back to the car, hop in her car seat, and sleepily ask “More music?” before snoring all the way home. The adults were equally satisfied with a relaxing night of music while hanging outdoors. We’d return to see the Vermont Symphony Orchestra at Burke in an instant.

The VSO Summer Festival Tour is an annual event generally taking place in July with stops across Vermont, including many at area resorts. Check out the calendar at  Looking for more outdoor music options in Vermont? Check out Music in the Meadow at Trapp Family Lodge. The next concert is August 14, 2022.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.