Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Old People Orchestra, Part 2

I expected that old people orchestra would be rife with humor, and it has not disappointed. Tonight, after our ten minute break that actually lasted 22 minutes, we sang/played Happy Birthday to one of the violinists who turned 97 last Thursday. She stood up and said that this birthday marked 27 years of playing with this symphony. Another violinist then hollered, "Here's to another 27 years!" Everyone in the room half-smiled but no one made any noise of agreement or approval, probably because the look on the birthday girl's face clearly stated that she doesn't want another 27 years. It was an uncomfortable moment for everyone involved.

We are ten days away from our concert, although it is going to be difficult for me to advertise considering the old people stole all of the fliers on the refreshments table tonight. I watched a man stuff a stack of fliers into his brief case. Now, instead of handing out typed directions, I have to tell people that the concert will take place in Clubhouse 3, directly behind the mortuary.

Our conductor told us last week that tickets will cost five dollars. A general grumbling ensued, broken only by a voice from the horns section that yelled, "They were four dollars last year!" The conductor, obviously surprised, said that if the dollar would keep people from coming then we were welcome to take a few more comp tickets. I do not think the extra dollar is going to keep our audience away. I think the number of pieces we are performing will keep our audience away. It's too much music, and it's as if the conductor has no concept of how quickly old men fall asleep. My grandpa once secured us onstage seats at an American String Quartet master class, where he promptly fell asleep. I expect this phenomenon on a grand scale next week, replete with snoring, drooling, bobbing heads, and dropped belongings.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Live Music

As I am currently in the process of making major life decisions and facing questions about where I would like to live and what I would like to do, some other self-realizations have surfaced, such as my love for Camry's and Sprite. Although these things do not help my popularity, I have found that few people are actually offended when I explain the subtle sex appeal of the Camry Hybrid or when I order a Sprite, and just a Sprite, at a bar. However, there are going to be some hurt feelings when I start admitting that I strongly dislike live music, especially when it is played by someone I know. I have suspected this dislike for a while, but had not taken the time to figure out why until recently confronted. Here is what I came up with:

My Aversion to Live Music: An Explanation and a Few Qualifications

I will begin with the qualifications. First, I love music. These days, I especially prefer Baroque music, Paul Simon, and hip-hop, although I have yet to choose a side on the East Coast-West Coast hip-hop/rap feud. (I am leaning towards the East Coast.) Second, I enjoy the performance of some Classical music, especially chamber music. I have found that the calm of the situation helps me to think clearly, and I generally get some good writing done after a concert.

That being said, I do not like going to concerts or performances of rock, alternative, hip-hop, folk, or electronic music. Supposedly, live music is meant for socializing. However, it is too loud for any conversation to occur, meaning that I have to socialize by drinking a beer and collectively bobbing. The value is placed on looking relaxed, even though I am expected to stand the entire time. I would be more relaxed if I was at a job interview- at least I could use my words. And wear a suit.

If the music is being played by someone I know, the pressure to enjoy myself intensifies, and I cannot explain afterwards that the reason I did not have a good time is because I do not like live music. I have to find something to compliment, as if I'm not drained from trying to look happy and fun when they caught my eye mid-concert.

Even when seeing musicians I enjoy like Van Morrison or Coldplay, I spend the entire time trying to guess how many songs they will play (8? 12? God forbid two encores?)

I see no other option than to institute a temporary, but firm, no-live-music policy. However, I am open to negotiations. I recently rewrote a former policy that mandated solitary museum visits, and have since visited three museums with other people.