Saturday, September 1, 2012

Trumpeter with a mohawk - an evening out

I am huge fan of the St. Louis symphony. Its repertoire is broad and enjoyable, its performances warmly received, and its hall beautiful. Students are treated like royalty - for a measly ten bucks you can get a seat only a few feet away from world class pianists and violinists.

Last Tuesday the symphony awoke from its ritual summer slumber and put up a performance free of charge to kick off its upcoming tour of four European cities. Tickets were gone hours after being made available couple weeks ago, but I was agile enough to snag one for myself. At 5:15 pm I wheeled out my bike and pedaled over, taking special care to snootily sneer at the large "$10 for parking" sign outside the hall.

The musicians were tuning their instruments, shuffling chairs around, ruffling papers and all that jazz. It took me a few seconds to realize something was odd. Normally these people dress to impress. Somber, elegant black, faces placid and studiously bland. But today it was all about t-shirts, scruffy beards (as a connoisseur of facial hair, I have a keen eye for such things) and mischievous smiles.

And a dude in the back row brandishing a trumpet had a freaking mohawk!

This was awesome! I am always allergic to dressing up for classical music (in fact I ranted about it in this post a while back) because it makes the genre seem so pompous and stuffy.

Minutes later, the conductor bounded on the stage, also sporting a festive t-shirt.  Mayor Francis Slay spoke for a few minutes.

This was one of the best performances I have attended. The conductor made some nerdy music jokes before the start of each piece. There was a freshness to the whole performance. The audience enjoyed it immensely. We were treated to not one but two encores at the end.

The good people of London, Berlin, Paris and Lucerne are in for a treat this coming week.

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