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Pirate Radio 

Conductor Chris Wilkins will wave his wand and summon pirate ghosts and tropical calypso music at today's Caribbean Cruise, the first in a series of Akron Symphony Orchestra family concerts. "It's not about education," says Wilkins. "It's about experience. I want [kids] to be exuberant, to experience the thrill of being there, taking in the cinematic multiplex of sound."

The orchestra will blend Afro-Cuban rhythms with New Orleans grooves, while dancers from the Pointe West troupe show off their high-spirited island steps. A steel-drum band is also on board for a program that covers modern jazz and Latin beats before reaching a Pirates of the Caribbean-themed finale. Families get in on the action with an Instrument Petting Zoo (where you can play the strings, brass, and woodwinds) and Johnny Depp and Keira Knightley look-alike contests. It's all about making music fun, says Wilkins. "Symphonic music is so versatile," he says. "Hollywood still uses orchestras because of that epic scope. Whether you're in Japan, in the United States, or in Europe, it is the one musical language."
Sun., Oct. 29, 3 p.m.

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