Family Music Day in L.A.

The popular event for children and their parents returns to the Beverly Hills Hotel on January 13 featuring Orli Shaham


The fabled Beverly Hills Hotel on Sunset Boulevard is the annual destination of people from around the world. On January 13, one who will make her third trip in as many years is Emma Dorner.

Not bad for a 6-year-old.

The occasion is the AFIPO’s Family Music Day, an annual event for children and their parents that provides interactive musical experiences for the kids of Young Patrons Circle members and their friends while supporting the IPO’s KeyNote music education program in Israel. Funds raised by the event help ensure that each year, more than 22,000 Israeli schoolchildren can receive KeyNote’s in-class music education curriculum and attend IPO performances in Charles R. Bronfman Auditorium. [For more information, read this month’s KeyNote feature.]

Internationally renowned, Israeli-born concert pianist and educator Orli Shaham will also be back for her third appearance. She will again present an interactive program that includes many of the features she has developed in her own “Baby Got Bach” program. Among the popular activities are an instrument petting zoo and a live concert.

“The hands-on encounter with the instruments lets the children get really excited about what instruments are capable of doing before we have what operates like a professional, grown-up concert that they can participate in,” Shaham said. “I’ve said for years that the popularity of music has only to do with the rate of exposure to it and when you expose kids and families to the music it so clearly wins them over every time.”

Co-chairing the event are Young Patrons Circle members Mark Dorner, Shoshana and Joel R. Fogel, and Pamela and Mark Scott. PJ Library is this year’s event co-sponsor.

“These are really good events,” said Emma’s dad, Mark Dorner, whose 14-year-old son Aidan is another Family Music Day veteran. “The kids enjoy it a lot. A lot of my friends and their kids come, too. It’s a very positive thing for the children, and for Israel.

“The kids are very engaged,” he continued. “Orli Shaham does a great job of keeping this large group of kids of all ages – some quite young – very focused and listening throughout.”

“Family Music Day is my favorite program that we offer,” said Danielle Ames Spivak, AFIPO Executive Director. “That’s because everything we do at AFIPO is ultimately about ensuring that the future is brilliant both in Israel and around the world. Watching children captivated as the power of music is unlocked to them epitomizes what we believe classical music is about – creating profound experiences for all ages and audiences.

“Our event co-chairs, Pam and Mark Scott, Shoshana and Joel R. Fogel, and Mark Dorner all are passionate about keeping the spark of creative expression alive for young people and I am constantly inspired by their leadership.”



As guests check in beginning at 10 a.m., refreshments and snacks will be available: a Smoothie Station for the kids and a Bloody Mary bar for the adults. The activities begin at 10:15 with the instrument petting zoo, and then at 10:45 a.m. Shaham performs a child-focused concert.

The concert is followed by a gourmet brunch, with dietary laws observed, during which there will be more family fun opportunities including balloon artistry, face painting, and a PJ Library reading nook.

This is the Young Patrons Circle’s first collaboration with PJ Library, a program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation that is supported by philanthropists and local Jewish organizations in cities across the country. Each month it sends free Jewish children’s books to families around the world who subscribe. 

“PJ Library is awesome,” said Dorner, a native New Yorker who lived in Israel for 13 years, including service in the Israel Defense Forces. “They send these nicely illustrated soft-covered books that are about Judaism. Emma is always really excited that she gets a gift in the mail addressed to her, and we can sit down and read it together.”

The “PJ” is for “pajamas,” a reference to bedtime reading, when so many parents and their children discover books together.

On Sunday morning January 13, however, it will be scores of children and their parents discovering music together. And, in the process, supporting KeyNote, the same IPO program that gave incoming IPO Music Director Lahav Shani a scholarship when he was 14.

Who knows … maybe one of the children in attendance will be inspired to conduct an orchestra someday, too!

For more information and tickets, visit the event webpage or call 310.277.0100.