I’ve had some lively discussions (or at least I’ve read them) on Facebook before, but nothing like right now on my profile. So I’m late to the RtB dance for this morning.
The topic of discussion: my middle school choir concert last night. The kids were wonderful; the crowd, not so much. I felt really terrible for my students and for the members of the audience who were subjected to adults yapping at full volume (think basketball or volleyball game), showing little or no respect for five months of work being presented onstage. It was tragic.
Back in 1999, when I started at my school, concerts were held in the same place they are currently held, except no lighting was used (the main “cafetorium” fluorescents were left on), the choir risers were set up on the floor, not on the stage, and people sat at cafeteria tables instead of on chairs. I thought that was disrespectful to our audiences. I wanted them to have more of an actual concert experience. So I asked my principal if I could set up chairs, unplug the vending machines, use the recessed lights on dimmer switches, and use the Fresnels already in place above the stage. Roger on all of that, and yay, instant concert atmosphere. I think it helped the kids, too.
Though we had some issues with “training” the audience, things basically smoothed out within two concerts. However, last night showed some major regression. It was the first time in my career that I have had to turn to an audience and ask for quiet. No joke. I had to shut a crowd up. I was nice about it (I really wanted to launch into a diatribe, but…), and it helped until I turned around and the choir began performing. Then it was back to business as usual.
And I’m not talking parents not shushing their kids or taking them out in the hall if they got restless (although they didn’t do that, either). I’m talking adults gabbing full-bore like they were at a ball game. I was like, “Wow, some of these people couldn’t care less about what’s going on onstage.” It was quite the disappointment on a night when my kids really came through musically. Bummer.
Oh well…I am determined to deal with it. All suggestions welcome! (But they can’t be felonious.)
Two May gigs down — two to go.