I wrote this, and posted it on my old AOL blog, two years ago. Bear with me, there's a reason I'm posting it again...
A Night at The Symphony - October 2005
I didn't make it to the nail salon today. I was on my way there when I got a phone call from Katharine (coincidentally my symphony date this evening). Originally, I'd planned to pick her up at her house in Richardson so we could drive to the concert together, in one car, but she called just before 6:00 to tell me she was still at work, ergo still downtown, and wondered if we could we just meet at the symphony. She sounded tired and said she'd been so busy she hadn't eaten all day, so I suggested we both drive immediately to the Meyerson for an early dinner before the symphony. I didn't have to twist her arm.
By 7:00 we were seated at one of the many small tables covered with crisp white tablecloths in the vast lobby of the Meyerson. Kath ordered a glass of chardonnay and I ordered one of merlot, and then we walked through the buffet line, where we helped ourselves to a couple of kinds of pasta, salad, and bread, with dessert and coffee to follow. I couldn't help but think that this was a very civilized way to begin an evening at the symphony.
The program was Shostakovich's 9th Symphony and Copeland's Clarinet Concerto, followed by Schuman's 2nd Symphony. Kath attended high school just down the street from the Meyerson , at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing Arts in Dallas. Booker T is as close to the old tv show, Fame, as any high school is ever going to get. A lot of very talented kids have gone there; Nora Jones was one of Katharine's classmates. Admission to Booker T is by audition, but many who try don't make it; Katharine was successful, and her instrument was clarinet, so she had a special interest in this concert.
I don't subscribe to the DSO. I bought these tickets on a whim, at the last minute, and I wasn't sure where our seats were located, but I really lucked out: our seats were front center orchestra. Wellllllllll...not RIGHT in front, but who wants to be right in front? I'm not going to be specific about where we sat, because if I did, names might have to be changed to protect the innocent, or we might be killed, etc. Suffice it to say we were close enough to see the stage well...REALLY well.
And so the concert began. The Shostakovich was wonderful,and the Copeland was incredible, a terrific performance by a virtuoso clarinetist. At intermission we went to the lobby; we discussed the music and watched people and talked home repairs, a favorite topic for both of us.
After intermission, as we got settled in our seats to enjoy the Schuman, I realized that in these seats, my eyes appeared to be at the crotch height of all of the musicians. I don't know why I didn't notice this rather interesting phenomenon during the first half of the concert, but I didn't (maybe that glass of merlot was a little more effective than I thought it was...whatever)...but suddenly, after intermission...it was as if my old eyes had just figured out how to focus, and, without thinking about it, I scanned what I could see on the stage...nothing very interesting, (nothing I hadn't seen before) until...***WHOA!!!***
The musicians were still tuning their instruments. I nudged Kath. "Check it out...the lap of the guy to the (I'm not even going to say Right or Left here) of Andrew Litton..." (for all you non-Texans, Andrew Litton is the conductor of the DSO). Kath gave me a rather wilting look, that said, without her actually saying it, "MUH-THUR!", but she looked...I watched her eyes scanning...and then, just as the lights went low and the music started, she saw what I'd seen...and I saw her eyes go wide...and then we both began to try to not laugh (especially because we both have a tendency to snort when we really get laughing)...
WHAT WE SAW: How shall I put this delicately? Ummmmmmmmm...there was a veritable...tent...in the lap of one of the musicians. I mean, it was...HUGE. And this guy just looked like...well...just an ordinary guy. Not even ordinary...a little on the dweeby side. And he was of an age...well, let's just say, if he and I were having a conversation, he'd get my context. By which I mean, if I said, "So where were you when Kennedy was shot?" he wouldn't blurt out, "Good God! Ted Kennedy's been SHOT?" Nevertheless, in spite of his dweebiness, in spite of his age, there it was...this...tent...with apparently an active three-ring circus beneath it...in marked contrast to all the other male musicians around him.
I tried not to stare, but I couldn't help myself...
At one point I thought it must be a fanny pack, and that he must have something in it; like a big kerchief in case he perspired or something.
But then it appeared to move.
On it's own.
I've never seen a kerchief in a fanny pack do that.
I didn't stare throughout all 4 movements of the Schuman; I SWEAR I didn't (and if Kath says otherwise, she's lying). But I admit I stared intermittently during all 4 movements, expecting to see the tent...deflate. But it didn't happen. Anxiously, I awaited the end of the concert. I applauded impatiently, waiting for that magic moment, when all the musicians stand...and it happened, as it must; eventually they all stood, and when they did, I admit my eyes were glued to the tent which just...disappeared.
Standing, he looked like every other male musician on the stage. Welllllll...perhaps his trousers were a little more...pleated?...in front...but maybe not. Kath thinks it was just cheap fabric, tenting in his lap as cheap fabric will sometimes do.
Maybe she's right.
I don't know.
I just wish I knew the size of his feet.
That was 2 years ago. Tonight, I attended an open rehearsal at the Meyerson to hear the DSO play one of one of my alltime favorite pieces of music: Beethoven's 9th symphony. It will be formally performed this Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but all performances have been sold out for some time, so I was happy and excited to be invited to attend the open rehearsal. There was open seating at tonight's rehearsal, and so of course I sat in my favorite section: main floor, center. An open rehearsal is exactly what the name implies: a rehearsal, but with an audience in attendance. Because it's a rehearsal rather than a performance, no one is dressed up; the musicians and even the conductor tend to wear blue jeans, running shoes, etc.
Which all of them did tonight, including the, uh...previously mentioned violinist. And I'm posting this update as a public service, because I couldn't help but notice, that even in blue jeans, the dweeby violinist is...ahem...A Man Among Men.