Sunday, January 25, 2009

Music Can't Soothe the Savage Beast

(Lukas at the instrument petting zoo before the show)
Lukas demonstrated this weekend that he is a boy with broad and diverse musical interests. Be they ever so enthusiastic! From punk, to metal, to country, to the blues and almost everything in between, Lukas has been exposed, through our music collection, local record store, and farmer's market musicians, to a broad range of interesting musical genres and has completely enjoyed all of them.

However, one of the musical genres which doesn’t get a lot of air time at our house is classical music. With the note-able exception of a recent holiday party where we had a good friend who is a cellist in a local symphony (and a cello instructor) graciously give an impromptu ‘concert’ for the little ones in attendance, Lukas has not been exposed to music which could be classified as classical or ‘chamber’.

Until this past Saturday.

Mrs. LIAYF and I took Lukas, accompanied by 3 other boys his age and their parents, to the Seattle Chamber Music Society’s Winter Festival at Seattle’s swanky Benaroya Hall. The specific concert we attended, which was geared towards families with young children and thus only 45 minutes long, was held in a moderately packed auditorium which seated 500 guests. It seemed like the perfect introduction to a new kind of music in a concert setting. But, since this was Luke’s first public event of this sort, and given that he normally doesn’t sit still for more than a ten minutes at a time, we had no idea what to expect from him.

I smartly secured us seats by the aisle nearest the exit door.

Lukas loved the music! Perhaps a bit too much. It started with a short narration after the lights were dimmed. We became nervous as Lukas began to fidget. However, once the music began he became rapt and was obviously enjoying himself as he stood tiptoes to look over the unoccupied seat in front of him. We settled back to enjoy the performance ourselves, more than a bit relieved that things were going well.

Then the first musical number ended in a dramatic crescendo and with the crowd still silent Lukas, at the top of his lungs, yelled out “YEEEAHHH!” and began to clap wildly! This, of course, immediately caused bursts of laughter from the crowd and several rows of head quickly turned in our direction, trying to make out the source of the enthusiasm. Even the Flutist on stage snorted out a stifled laugh visible to all in attendance, which only lead to more chuckles amongst the crowd. At least his timing was dead on.

Oh, but the fun did not end there friends. Not by a long shot. Lukas, very aware that he had garnered such attention, belted out yet another high decibel “YEEEAHHH!” which brought additional laughter as well as sympathetic looks from those close by. Mrs. LIAYF and I oscilated between being mortified and laughing outloud ourselves.

Thankfully the music began again and diverted the attention away from us. Mrs. LIAYF, thinking quickly, motioned for me to pull out the lunch we had packed for after the concert. This diversionary tactic worked perfectly...that is if you consider a toddler dipping a hardboiled egg into dried vegetables and stuffing his face while fidgeting on his mom’s lap to actually be diversionary! At least it was only those around us who witnessed this show.

Then with Lukas done eating and loudly calling out “All done!” “All done!”, the music stopped a second time. A boisterous “YEEEAHHH!” and clapping ensued, but this time accompanied by audience applause for the performers which, thankfully, slightly drowned it out. Mrs. LIAYF, then tried to muffle Luke and we both tried to shhhsh him, but he is a boy that is not accustomed to being shhhsed, so didn’t quite grasp the concept. A second and third half muffled “YEEEAHHH!” proved just too distracting to the crowd. Glad at being next to the aisle, I quickly got up and let Lukas go for the run he had also wanted, which I directed towards the back of the auditorium and out the exit doors.

We did make it back in to the show a couple of more times, but had to exit each time to keep our little guy occupied, and quiet, for the rest of the performance. We did let him "YEEEAHHH" and applause at the end, standing in mom's lap and excited that everyone was joining in. We were then able to go on stage and meet the musicians and narrator. We fessed up to being the perpetrators of all the commotion, to which the performers all chuckled and lauded his impeccable comedic timing.

Perhaps we need to take him out more, so we can work on the quiet voice!


Ed (zoesdad) said...

It has been my experience that your kid is really only a distraction to you--they usually are not as loud as you interpret.

Of course, my kids aren't yelling Yeeah! at a Chamber Symphony recital.

That is pretty funny.

Anonymous said...

Too funny!

Too bad they didn't have a Baby's totally cool to do stuff like that in the Baby Moshpit. :)

SciFi Dad said...

Next time I want to see chamber music with Lukas. At least he'll make it entertaining.

James (SeattleDad) said...

@Ed - With the great acustics in that concert hall, it was fairly obvious that the whole place heard Lukas!. Lol. It was funny and the culmination of all the fears about it I had going in all rolled into one.

@Super Mega Dad - Ha! Lukas would have been all into that idea. And stage diving too.

@SciFi - It was as if Chamber Music and a night at the Improve had a love child.

Jason Roth said...

That's great. We can't get Z-Dub into any music other than the theme songs to Wonder Pets and Little Einsteins.

Anonymous said...

He is truly an individual. Lukas don't let the man keep you down. Keep moving to your own beat.

On a side note, we totally would have been talking about you on the ride home if we were there.

James (SeattleDad) said...

@vegasdad - Never heard of Wonderpets before, but I am sure it is on its way.

@DC - Yeah, I would have been talking about us too! lol.