Life with small children is all about the routine. You get up at the same time (early), provide three meals and two snacks to a fairly rigid timetable, and woe betide you if you’re late for nap time or bedtime. It’s book bag on Tuesday and Friday, running kit on Tuesday, choir practice on Wednesday, Toy Library on Thursday. Any breaks to the routine generally involve impromptu wake-up calls at 1am (3am, 5 am etc) because someone is teething or has a bad dream, or an unscheduled trip to A&E for a bumped head.
Which is why it was a bit surprising this Tuesday at 11.30am to find me in a local church, along with a lot of other parents and under-fives, singing along to hits from the shows performed out by bona fide West End artistes. I only found out about Baby Broadway last week when a friend shared a link on Facebook. To me it is quite simply an idea of genius. Parents/carers take their small children along to a concert of greatest hits from shows like Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat and Grease. It is totally informal, with children able to crawl/run around to their heart’s content, and audience participation actively encouraged.
I was far more excited than I should have been to discover not only that this concept existed, but that there was actually a concert happening in Walthamstow this week. It cost £9 for me, and was free for Sophia – not the cheapest morning’s entertainment, but so worth it. I didn’t get to sit down for a single minute of the hour-long concert because Sophia was so excited to be in a new environment with lots of other babies that she certainly wasn’t going to waste a second sitting on mummy’s knee. She loved the music though, and I loved the chance to have a proper sing-song. My only regret was that it was in school time and so I couldn’t take Anna, because she would have absolutely adored it. It is fair to say that my husband does not share my passion for old-fashioned musicals, but I am gradually trying to indoctrinate Anna, with remarkable success. The programme for Tuesday has given me some ideas for new films to try as well – perfect for the still-long winter evenings.
The singers were amazingly talented, both at singing and relating to their pint-sized audience. There were tantrums and rice-cakes galore, none of which detracted from the fabulous singing. I went home on a total endorphin-high, belting out Somewhere Over the Rainbow somewhat louder than I probably should have been. I can’t wait for the next Walthamstow performance.