Friday, November 26, 2010

The Symphony

My grade school music teacher was an older lady who dyed her hair the same shade as her black Lincoln Mark VII. A car that, to 9-year-old me, looked like the bat mobile.

She took her job very seriously, had a hunchback, and didn't seem to care much for boys. The feeling was pretty much mutual.

I did not look forward to music class. I had no discernible musical aptitude or interest. My greatest achievements in grade school music class were successfully playing Hot Crossed Buns, in its entirety, on the soprano recorder, and witnessing Mrs. McCormick scream "Blake! Booyah!" one time when Blake Wolfson was talking in class. I also learned, if memory serves, that glockenspeil is German for angel's song. So, no, it wasn't a total waste.

If I dug my soprano recorder out of one of the dusty boxes in my parent's attic I'll bet I could still knock out a spirited version Hot Crossed Buns given an afternoon to practice. I might even be able to figure out the first 5 or 6 notes of Ode To Joy. These are skills I retain thanks to Mrs McCormick. She also taught me, with three grade school field trips to Powell Hall, that I like going to the Symphony.

I don't like going to the Symphony so much that I buy tickets. But when free tickets appear I put on a clean shirt and a belt and I rub elbows with high society. A night at Powell Hall is high class all the way, a St. Louis rarely seen. Where proud citizens wear neck ties and pearls. High-brow St. Louis making the case that such a thing really does exist.

The case is made with marble, gold leaf and pleasant conversation in the lobby. Champagne is available for purchase.

Witnessing a demonstration of mastery is thrilling.  It's affirmative. It reminds you how we got here. On opposable thumbs, wits and practice.  Everyone in the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra is very good at their job. This is something they've been training all their lives to do. Each has their own chair, instrument, and style. Together they play classical music like motherfuckers.

I've never seen the New York Philharmonic, I'm sure they're good. The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra is the best I've ever seen. See them for free the next time they perform in Forrest Park.  If you find yourself complaining hurry up and move to New York. Around here we root for the home team.

*Please excuse the blurry photograph, photography is prohibited inside of Powell Hall. You're also not supposed to go there stoned.