Without giving too much away, Judy Constantinides mentions “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.”
The characters are a little different, but it shares a story line with “Porridge,” the folktale she’s adapted for the Louisiana Sinfonietta’s annual family concert, “Music for the Young at Heart.”
The performance, set for 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 25, in the LSU School of Music Recital Hall, features a guest performance by violinist Yova Milanova.
But the program’s highlight will be Judy Constantinides’ recitation of “Porridge,” the story of an elderly Italian woman whose cooking pot makes porridge when she says the magic word.
What exactly is that word? That will be revealed only at the concert, as will the magic word to stop the pot from cooking.
Which is where the problem really begins, because the Italian woman has an assistant, a young girl who becomes a little too ambitious in her experimentation. She remembers the woman’s word to start the pot’s cooking but forgets the word to stop it.
Porridge overflows everywhere, at least figuratively, to an accompaniment composed by Dinos Constantinides, the Sinfonietta music director and conductor.
He’s also Judy Constantinides’ husband, and this is the 13th year that the couple has teamed up to present “Music for the Young at Heart.”
“We always introduce the piece each year at the Sinfonietta’s summer library tour,” Judy Constantinides says. “I try to choose a story that will go with the parish library’s Summer Reading Program theme.”
This year’s theme focused on science.
“But they also added magic to the theme,” Judy Constantinides says. “So, I chose to do ‘Porridge.’”
Judy Constantinides is a retired children’s librarian and has been telling stories for more than 50 years.
For “Music at the Young at Heart,” she chooses an old folktale that’s in the public domain.
“I have to adapt the story, so it can’t be copyrighted,” she says. “So, my stories are older.”
Once her work is done, husband Dinos composes music especially for the story, then she stands center stage while the Sinfonietta plays behind her.
“We do it this way every year, but one year, the music from the performance went on YouTube,” she says. “A movie producer from California heard it and contacted us about using the music. He was making a documentary about working women, and he wanted about a minute from the song. It was very exciting for us.”
Judy Constantinides uses props and puppets during the summer tour, and there have been times when props have made it to the winter concert.
“But I won’t be using props in this concert,” she says. “The winter concert is more formal. The younger kids usually attend the summer programs, while older kids come to this concert. And I’m not only performing for them but also the adults in the audience.”
The concert also has been tailored for a family audience through shorter musical selections, including Henry Purcell’s “Suite No. 2.” from the “Fairy Queen”; Georg Philipp Telemann’s “Concerto for “Four Violins,” featuring Sinfonietta soloists; Dinos Constantinides’ “Family Triptych,” featuring Milanova; LSU graduate student Jamie Phillips’ “Expressions,” and short pieces by Ludwig van Beethoven and Felix Mendelssohn.
Then comes “Porridge,” rounding out the concert with its magic words.