Stuffed Animal Sleepover at the Boston Symphony Orchestra!

Caroline Richardson | September 26, 2018

Hello! I’m Brutus the Pomeranian. Let me tell you about a very special place that my stuffed animal friends and I visited last week—the Boston Symphony Orchestra!

After learning about so many different types of music and musicians this summer, we were SUPER excited to go to a sleepover at the BSO. We were a little worried about not seeing our favorite humans for an ENTIRE night, but the librarian was so nice, and all of the other stuffed animals were so friendly that we felt braver right away.

On the way to the BSO, we stopped at the librarian’s house for snacks. YUM! I asked her to take a photo of all of us with my camera. Since I took the rest of the pictures, this is the only photo that I’m in. Can you find me? Here’s a hint: Pomeranians are very sweet and fluffy dogs. Yep–that’s me on the left!


After we had our snacks, it was time to jump on the train! We had a lot of fun going through the turnstiles. Super Grover tried to fly over them, but the librarian made him get back in line and pay his fare—which is the right thing to do!


We got off at the Symphony stop. Dora, who loves exploring, asked me to document herself and Mommy by the station sign. Since Mommy is a gorilla, she helped Pando climb up too. Pooh didn’t need any help, but Pando never had a chance to learn to climb because she was raised by polar bears. There aren’t any trees at the North Pole!


Everyone started looking for the the entrance to the orchestra. Pooh, Elmo, ZooZoo, and Brownie found a door, but the librarian told us this was a special door just for the musicians. We were looking for a door labelled “BOX OFFICE.” Maybe visitors need to stand on boxes to speak to the people at the counter? At last, Pando found the right door!




Mommy and Mr. Monkey tried to open the door, but it was too heavy. Pando, who had the hang of climbing now, said he would help. But the door was STILL too heavy! Then Whaley said she would help. Blue whales are the largest animals on earth, so Whaley is very strong. Working together, they all got the door open at last. Whew!



Then we all got in line for tickets. Charmander and Sammy were so excited that they rushed to the front of the line. Sammy kept trying to bury her ticket to keep it safe for later, so Charmander had to carry it for her. Silly squirrel—tickets aren’t acorns!



Once inside, Nicole, our BSO friend, showed us so many interesting things! Flower Bear was fascinated by a special kind of musical instrument called a serpent—can you guess why it has that name? Scholars think serpents were invented by a French monk in the late sixteenth century. They have a mouthpiece like a brass instrument, but finger holes like a woodwind instrument. They are so interesting! Flower Bear was too small to get a good look at them, so Dora and Pooh helped out. Because Pooh is very patient, he promised to help Charmander and Elmo take a look, too.


Then Nicole showed us a room where people can stop for snacks while they wait for performances to begin. Ben the penguin started to play some songs on the piano. Super Grover and Pooh wanted to look at the way the tiny hammers struck the wires inside the piano whenever Ben hit the keys. Then Brownie jumped on the music stand and started singing and we all joined in.



The librarian thought we were so talented that we should start our own group! She took us below stage to show us the practice rooms. Ben, Owly and Stork decided they should sing their birdsongs, while Whaley, DonDon the orca, and Shirotan the seal practiced [sea shanties].



While the birds and sea animals were practicing, Pooh, Elmo, Flower Bear, and ZooZoo the monkey went to the recording studio. ZooZoo is very interested in sound engineering. She thinks that if she ever made an album, she’d win a Grammy for sure!




ZooZoo told this to Nick, the BSO’s recording engineer, who showed her HIS Grammy. Super Grover told me to take a photo of him with the Grammy right away! Lion was very impressed—he was at the Olympics in 2012, so he knows how hard you have to work to win a medal. Baby Leo was also impressed. He decided he would ask ZooZoo to record his roars, so that they could BOTH win Grammys!



Next, we went to see the BSO’s archives. It was so interesting! The archivist was working on a special exhibit about John Williams, who was a conductor at the BSO. He also wrote music for the movies Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Raiders of the Lost Ark, which Paddington thought was SO cool. Raiders of the Lost Ark is Pando’s favorite movie and Paddington is a HUGE Harry Potter fan, so they decided to become John Williams fans, too.



Teddy and Bunny found some musical scores. Super Grover was determined to learn how to read musical notes so that he, Baby Leo, and ZooZoo could pursue their Grammy dreams. Pando and Paddington wanted to know whether any of these scores were written by John Williams. Sadly, the archivist tells us that they weren’t. These scores were composed by a man named Berlioz. You can listen to the Boston Symphony Orchestra playing the music in the photos [here]! Mr. Monkey, who already knew how to read sheet music, approves. He told us that it sounds springy, just like him!


Next the archivist took us back to the closed stacks. This is where the delicate items are stored. Bunny and Teddy wanted to get a closer look at the portrait of the man playing an oboe. Don’t you think he’s making a funny face? Mommy, ZooZoo, and Mr. Monkey, our climbing experts, were excited because they could help Bunny and Teddy get up to see the drawing. Super Grover flew up to take a look, too. He’d love it if the BSO had a portrait of himself in the archives. Maybe one day they will!


While everyone else was looking at the portraits on the walls, ZooZoo and Pando took a closer look at the stacks. There are ROWS and ROWS of shelves filled with special gray storage boxes. Pando and ZooZoo thought that John Williams should write a theme song for the BSO’s library. It might sound something like [this]. The archivist could play it whenever she walked into the stacks!



After leaving the archives, Elmo found the supplies for the BSO’s chorus, still waiting to be unpacked. He was so excited! Sugar was impressed by the beautiful stencil on the top of the trunk.



DonDon found some more traveling trunks with fancy stencils. Mommy and Mr Monkey climbed up, too, but Teddy stayed on the ground; being so high up was making him feel seasick. Luckily, that wasn’t a problem for DonDon at all.





Suddenly the librarian looked at her watch–it was time for everyone to go to their seats! We snuck around the wings of the stage while the musicians were setting up. Ben and DonDon were happy that they came already wearing their tuxedos!



Dora and Pooh slowly led everyone up the marble steps to the balcony. The stairs were a challenge for some of the smaller animals, but Lion kept everyone motivated with sports cheers.





Wow, our seats were up so high! Doesn’t the stage look beautiful?





Finally, we took our seats, ready for the music to begin. A couple of animals had to sit in Pooh’s lap, since they were too small to see over the seats in front of them. Sugar told everyone to hush–the music was about to start!



We had such a fun night. The next morning it was time to go back to the library and share all of our adventures with our FAVORITE humans. And even more exciting, we had special party favors to share with them when they took us back home: yummy cookies and a souvenir ticket!