The audience filed into the auditorium at the nearby community college. Most were adults, but there were a few children. Three young sisters sat in front of me, but two rows closer to the stage To my right were a couple and their two year old. Again, not directly next to me, but within earshot.
I worried that this was
going to be another event which I wish I could just stand up and scream,
“Don’t you people get it???
Children are not well suited to these things…they will make everyone’s experience an irritating one.”
But, I didn’t and in short order the Virginia Choral Society made their entrance onto the stage. My mind was immediately taken away from my neighboring audience members and onto the performers. The first to take her place on stage was my son’s girlfriend, Kristen -- lovely young lady. Row by row they entered until finally my son also joined those on stage.
Introductions were made, as were cautions to silence cell phones, but as would be politically correct, no mention was made regarding silencing children. And then they began. It was wonderful. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 voices, this is a fabulous choral society. Tonight’s offering was a program of show tune medleys. What a lot of fun. I was blown away when, in the middle of one of the medley’s my son came down to the front and sang a solo. His solo?
“Singing in the Rain.”
It brought back memories…unfortunately, the memories it brought back were of, “The Clockwork Orange” but that’s another tale entirely.
I was pretty impressed that by intermission no serious kid offenses had occurred. I became convinced I had under estimated the power of parental control and supervision on these youngsters. I was glad I had held my tongue.
Cookies and soda for all....
When we returned to our seats, the three young sisters were literally spinning with energy…the two year old was expressing his fatigue with clearly wide awake lungs.
The performers took their stage once again and the second half began. The children competed with the performers while their parents convinced themselves that everyone “understood” and the world revolved around their cherubs.
In the end, the performers received a well deserved standing ovation and I was left to ponder the whole problem of these performances.
I have determined the problem lies in the fact that we, the audience, are not afforded the same opportunity as the performers. They have been practicing for weeks and months to prepare their program. They can deliver flawlessly. We, the audience, come together only once. We do not have dress rehearsals to get it right. We are at a distinct disadvantage because we don’t even know the other members of the audience.
I think we all must look at this serious problem of ill prepared audiences! They make the most potentially enjoyable evening one that we are thankful to escape at the earliest opportunity.
We simply need more practice, I think.