A Magical Musical Children’s Book Comes to Life in Houston
By: Lauren Ross
Ars Lyrica Houston’s first children’s book, Maria’s Magical Music Adventure / La mágica aventura musical de María, will be brought to life this year in two different formats. There will be readings in English and Spanish with live music accompaniment and a stage production in collaboration with Express Children’s Theatre.
Maria’s Magical Music Adventure is a one-of-a-kind story written by composer Emma Kent Wine. It is available in English and Spanish. Suitable for classical music lovers of all ages, the breathtakingly illustrated book features a girl named Maria who travels 300 years back in time, with Matthew the musical magician, to meet the Baroque composer Antonio Vivaldi. Wine also composed original music and arranged excerpts from Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons for string quartet as part of the project. A narration with the music is available for free on YouTube as part of Ars Lyrica Houston’s “Musical Storytime” series.
The debut performance of Maria’s Magical Music Adventure took place at Ars Lyrica’s book launch fundraising event on November 2, 2022 at the elegant Italian restaurant Tony’s, where attendees enjoyed a gourmet luncheon, book signing, and reading of Maria’s Magical Music Adventure accompanied by a live string quartet. Both the luncheon and production of the book were generously underwritten by Connie Kwan-Wong and CKW LUXE magazine.
In keeping with their outreach mission of demystifying the music of the 17th and 18th centuries for the many diverse communities in Houston, Ars Lyrica presents free live readings in English and Spanish of Maria’s Magical Music Adventure around the city. In the fall of 2022, as part of Free Family Night for Hispanic Heritage Month at the Children’s Museum Houston, Ars Lyrica offered its first bilingual reading of the book accompanied by a violist.
Maria’s Magical Music Adventure live readings with music will continue through 2023 with performances at the Menil Neighborhood Community Day at Rothko Chapel, HISD elementary schools, Heights Kids’ Day of Music, and more. The book will also be turned into a brand new play for children by Express Children’s Theatre, which will explore exciting creative directions, including a hip-hop remix of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and having one of the main characters performed by a violinist!
Maria’s Magical Music Adventure is available for pre-order in English or Spanish online ($25) at arslyricahouston.com/maria. More information about future programs can be found on Ars Lyrica’s outreach page at arslyricahouston.org/outreach.