On February 11, 2010 my series of seven San Francisco Symphony concerts began with a performance at the Flint Center in Cupertino, CA. My Chiro Friend had agreed to join me for this one and this was to be the first time she ever attended a symphony orchestra concert. I thought this would be a nice way for her to get started with this kind of music. It would be a short drive from her office to the concert hall; much shorter than going all the way to San Francisco. And the concert was to include The Planets by Gustav Holst, which would be very easy to enjoy, even for a young woman new to classical music.
And it did prove to be a good choice. We both enjoyed the music conducted by Charles Dutoit, very much. She was most excited about the various emotional moods represented in the Holst work. As we left the concert she was talking about how she might be able to incorporate the music into the health care talks she gives to people. She realized that it would be easier to play a passage that brings on a particular emotion, rather than just describe the emotion with words. I thought that was fantastic, as she was immediately applying this new experience to her own life in a really creative way!
It had been really interesting to be next to her as she attended her first concert. Before it began she let me know that she already knew that we weren't supposed to clap between the movements. Yes, I confirmed to her, that is the tradition. And then she grabbed the program and began reading the program notes with great interest, to see what we would be hearing. Excellent, she really is getting in to the experience! I was very pleased that she was really participating.
The concert began with Concerto for Violin and Orchestra by William Walton. When the first movement finished, the crowd began it's usual chorus of coughing, shuffling, and throat clearing from all directions around us. She cracked up and whispered in my ear, "Is it always like this?" Well yes, I had to admit, pretty much. She found this rather amusing and gave me a big smile about it. The second movement ended, followed by the same sort of rattling around by the audience. Another chuckle on her part. She listened intently during the playing, but didn't get all serious about it. A perfect attitude.
During the intermission, we got up and walked around a bit, used the facilities and so on. She disappeared for a bit and then reappeared with a small package in her hand. You see, she had been seeing clients right up to the time when we had to leave for the concert. So there was no time for dinner before the show. The poor girl was probably starving! So she had gotten herself a snack, which was the small package in her hand. Hey, no problem with that.
So we headed back to our seats to get ready for The Planets. And when we got settled, she started in on her snack, offering me some, but I declined, as I wasn't particularly hungry. And then I saw what she had bought at the concert hall canteen. It was a bag of Corn Nuts! Can you say crunchy?!!
Wait, the Maestro is coming out again. They're about to get started with The Planets. Quick, eat some of that crunchy goodness. Crunch! Crunch! Crunch! Hey, no problem, the applause started up to welcome the conductor back, pretty loud. Still time for some more crunching. And then the first movement began. Ooops, caught with a mouth half full. When the music got louder, I could hear some teeny tiny, mouth closed, slow, crunching noises, just because I was sitting nearby. And so it went.
Now The Planets has seven movements, so that meant six breaks between movements for the crowd to loosen up for the next movement. And the same routine every time with the coughing and throat clearing, but now there was some added crunching in my vicinity as well. Finally my dear sweet Chiro Friend could not contain herself any longer. On the next break between movements, she leaned toward me, open mouth near my left ear and let go with a loud C R U N C H C U U R R R U N C H ! ! It was hilarious.
Hey, she's a great chiropractor, but she's got a sense of humor too.
Now I don't want to mislead the reader. We weren't creating a scene or bothering anyone. It was just a little fun in the moment. Overall we both listened very intently to the music, which is, after all, a very showy piece and a great introduction to a new listener of the great variety of sounds that can be produced by a good orchestra. We both left the concert in great spirits after an evening of wonderful live music.