DALLAS — The season of giving is under way in North Texas. The New Conservatory played the first notes Sunday with its Symphony of Toys.
The audience at the Meyerson Symphony Center heard great music... and helped families celebrate the holidays.
For 25 years, the Symphony of Toys has relied on audience participation. Hundreds of families crowded the concert hall to hear young musicians at their best, a great kickoff to the holiday season.
"It's just part of the Christmas celebration for us," said symphony patron Wesley Welcome. "Kind of a tradition."
To find their seats, every audience member was asked to donate an unwrapped toy to WFAA's Santa's Helpers campaign, and the wonderland of toys filled the entrance hall.
Well-dressed little girls and boys piled up mountains of toys for those less fortunate.
When volunteers bagged and counted every donation, more than 1,200 toys were ready for Santa's Helpers to distribute to children throughout North Texas.
"In the end, these kids that get these presents, it makes a big difference to them," said Santa's Helpers volunteer Dennis Wood.
This year, the Dallas Zoo provided a few head-turning moments at the symphony as porcupines balanced, penguins waddled and snakes were entranced by the music.
"It's beautiful music, and everybody gets to enjoy it," said symphony patron Isela Camilleri.
Parents and children started the season with music, and their gifts provided a high note for other families to enjoy.
There's another way to help Santa's Helpers. This year, we are auctioning off wreaths decorated by several North Texas businesses.
The Dallas Mavericks, Southwest Airlines and Tom Thumb have contributed items on those wreaths. Bidding starts Monday and runs through Friday.