Madison Symphony Orchestra is one of the few in the country that opens up their dress rehearsals to the general public, for free, (see also: NY Phil) so you can see how the sausage gets made before the concert. It’s quite an opportunity if you are a musician or student or squirelly kid who isn’t quite ready to sit through an entire formal concert without vibrating out of your plush velvet seat yet.
Last night I went to see one of these, featuring longtime violin hero of mine, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg. Tonight and tomorrow she’ll be performing Piazzolla’s The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires (you can listen on Lala, though they’ve spelled her name wrong making it nice and hard to find). It will be terrific. Get tickets and go if you live nearby.
Alas, last night the two enormous families of what I presume to be morality-based home-schoolers (or just two buttoned-up couples who happen to each have five kids under 10 and matching religious haircuts) that I accidentally sat behind didn’t quite have their concert-going bones yet. This resulted in a listening experience that had more “Mooooooooooooooooooom! I have to PEEEEEE!” solos than I think Piazzolla envisioned, plus a seat-switching escapade that would have made the Stooges proud and a forced ejection of one of the more vocally adorable parties by a head usher. And yet, as distracting as they were, better they come during the dress rehearsal, says I. After all, sitting still and listening is not an innate childhood instinct, like biting, say, or collecting stickers.
The point? Bravo to the MSO and their brave visiting performers for putting up with the shennanigans of a listening audience while trying to rehearse. It’s worth it, it really is. I hope they keep it up long enough for me to be forcibly ejected with my own children someday.