MUSICAL MUSINGS: If you want to doze off during concerts, at least don’t make it so obvious

Last week, the band and orchestra attended a Music at Noon concert at the Westminster Presbyterian Church during lunchtime.

The performance featured the Pacific Arts Trio, comprised of flutist Alice Lenaghan, harpist Natalie Cox and cellist Dan Reiter.

The music (including arrangements of Vivaldi and Debussy) was well played and interesting. But that’s not what I’m going to talk about.

Instead I’m going to express my disappointment at the concert manners of Country Day students.

At the Westminster performance, students were laughing, talking and eating loudly (although food was allowed inside, I don’t think carrot sticks were the best choice). One put his feet up on the pew in front, while another lay down and slept during the entire concert.

Don’t get me wrong. I can completely relate to the desire to take a nap instead of listen to a concert. For the greater part of my childhood, I fell asleep at every single classical music concert I attended.

In fact, I can still remember the first time I remained alert for an entire performance—it’s no surprise that Joshua Bell was the first to keep me awake.

But even before that concert, I was quite a bit better at hiding my fatigue and boredom than my fellow Country Day students.

For example, I perfected the art of sleeping in a theater chair without anyone knowing. The trick is to rest your head on your hand with your face pointed slightly downwards (imagine “The Thinker” by Rodin), so that everyone thinks you are lost in contemplation and appreciation of the music instead of just taking a nap.

Of course, this doesn’t always work. A few years ago I attended a piano performance at the Mondavi Center. Naturally, I had come from a three-hour ballet rehearsal and was exhausted.

As soon as the lights dimmed, I situated myself in the “Thinker” pose and started to drift. In my dream, I was reliving my ballet rehearsal, jumping up and down.

Soon enough, my subconscious was able to override my sleep paralysis, and I was awakened by the sound of my own foot banging into the chair in front of me.

Not only did I get an extremely annoyed look from the lady in front of me, but the kick had taken place during the slowest and quietest part of the piece. Let’s just say I was lucky not to have been escorted out of the theater.

So believe me when I say that I understand the urge to nod off, especially right after eating lunch and in a pleasantly warm church.

But for the sake of your own pride and that of those around you, try to hide your boredom.

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