During my early twenties, I used to spend a lot of time hanging out with the music nerds at the local university. As such, I would often find myself hanging out in the little concert rooms the college uses for music majors to perform in as part of their degree requirements. This meant that I would often get to experience very talented young people showcasing not only their skills, but the attributes of instruments that I probably wouldn’t have gotten such a fantastic perspective on otherwise. Like the time I saw a young man putting on a tuba concert, or the bass and double bass duo. It was these odd couple types of concerts which kept me coming back long after I was required to for the class which alerted me to this even happening.
It also helped that due to my time on the stage performing musical theatre, I made lots of friends in the orchestra pit, who were part of the music program at this college, so they would invite me to see them play, bringing me again and again to these tiny little dark rooms with only a handful of other people, getting to appreciate music that I would have never heard otherwise.
I’ve always had a love for the classics, but even more so when presented in new and exciting ways. When I worked as a bagger at a grocery store in South Carolina, where we would take the groceries out to the cars for people, I got to know a young man very well who played his violin for tips outside the business, so he could raise money for going to Julliard. It was because of him that I was first introduced to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, but also the O’Jays, which is who he assumed I was talking about when I jokingly suggested he play Stairway to Heaven.
I’ll be honest, I’m not entirely sure what my point here is outside, I guess, of how music can be a common language, even if we don’t always have the same songs to talk about. But what I really wanted to talk about is how although I’ve held a deep love for all of which falls under the incredibly large heading we give “Classical Music”, you know, things from the Renaissance, the Baroque Period, chamber music, and honestly, far too many genres of music to classify so broadly, it’s been a long long time since I’ve actually gone to see a symphony.
Technically I went to see Ben Folds perform with a full orchestra a few years back, but considering it was simply an orchestral takes on his hits, it didn’t hit quite the same, although still spectacular.
But, as the local symphony orchestra had a performance coming up, I presented the idea to my kids for them to join me, something I do whenever I’m aware of an upcoming performance, and much to my surprise, all three of them decided to come along.
I’m not going to say they were perfect little angels during the two hour performance, but they actually did about as well as I did with sitting in a chair for that long. Considering the show started at 7:30, and my kids don’t often make it later than 8:30 before they are crashing into their beds, that alone is impressive. But as I sat there having an out of body experience, enjoying the music as it reverberated through me, I took a few glances over at my kids and could see them also being transformed by it. Sure, the youngest may have slept through most of the second half, but coming out of the concert, he told me his review, which was simply all about how much he loved all of it except for the song he considered chaotic. And I had to agree with him, the song which he aptly classified as chaotic was the definite low point in the overall experience.
I’m not sure that when I was their ages I would have been able to sit for that long and simply listened to music without people jumping around and making a show of it, but my three awesome kids sat in that enormous theater and had an experience that, in talking with them afterwards, sounds similar to the experiences I’ve had in my adult years of gaining appreciation of the talent these musicians can present. And I couldn’t be more proud.
And I’m so incredibly excited that they want to join me for the next concert which comes up in a month. I’ve never gotten to hear Tchaikovsky live, so I’m pretty pumped about that as well.