Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Baby Einsteiner’s First Symphony

Dustin asked Bassonist Jonathan Boyd if being a musician is fun.
Dustin Cankar, sixth grader at Hart Middle School of Rochester, last
listened to classical music in infancy when his mother played Baby
Einstein tapes of Bach and Mozart hoping to increase his I.Q.
The tapes put him to sleep.
He preferred rap music at age four, and could repeat Eminem’s sad,
angry words from memory.
Rap woke him up.
If he heard nursery rhymes and kiddie tunes in the crib, he might not have
used words like “rage” or “gangsta” when he played with Webkins.
On Jan. 14, Dustin and I were invited to the Symphony of the Lakes
performance led by the esteemed conductor, Zeljko Milicevic.
Dustin sullenly agreed to go if he could wear jeans with a striped
hoodie and have a Big Mac afterward.
I hadn’t attended a symphony since the nineteen eighties when my
husband and I lived in Chicago.
Chicago audiences wore gowns and tuxedos, forbidding coughs, snores or children.
I knew children were welcome at the Performing Arts Center inside Waterford Mott High School,  but wondered if Dustin would be quiet.
We found students, community residents, and supporters of the orchestra
occupying about 85 percent of a very large and lovely auditorium.
It offered great stage lighting, wood paneled walls and high ceilings.
The musicians played with passion and perfection, making a memorable
and most affordable evening for all in attendance.
Camera bulbs flashed and late comers came, which added to the sense of
elegance tempered with a casual approach.
A few audience members said it was the first live concert or show they
attended and expressed disappointment at intermission because they did
not want it to end and thought it was over.
Dustin did not fall asleep, sneeze, make fake bodily noises he finds
entertaining when bored. He sat in quiet awe.
“This reminds me what it felt like when I was a baby,” he said at intermission.
At the end of the final performance, the orchestra and conductor
received a standing ovation.
Musicians graciously spoke to patrons and answered their questions.
Audience members were friendly to each other, talking about their
favorite symphonies, wondering when the next performance would be
given and asking each other how to pronounce Zeljko.
"That was exciting, especially the clarinet solos!” Dustin said
Symphony on the Lakes performs
afterward to the bassoon player. “I play clarinet, myself.”
Like old friends mingling, people seemed reluctant to leave.
“I really thought those Mozart and Bach tapes your mother made you listen to were a waste of time,” I said as we stepped into the night air. “But maybe that’s why you enjoyed yourself tonight.”
“And maybe it’s why I’m an all A student with a photographic memory,” he said.
Then he made fake bodily noises, all the way home to Rochester Hills.

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