[Montecito Journal] Coup De Grace: Aglow with Culture
By Grace Rachow
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We have friends with season symphony tickets, and it's not humanly possible for them to make every singel performance. So every now and then, we're offered their unused tickets.
I'm always ressitant to the idea of getting dressed up and heading downtown on a Saturday night. I'm not sure when going out for the evening began sounding like a chore, but it might've coincided with the popularity of the book, Being an Introvert is the New Black. I ask myself, "Why can't I just stay home with the terriers and listen to YouTube music videos?"
However, my husband loves going to the symphony. And every time I go, I end up loving it, too. So wer'e both very grateful for this nudge toward culture.
A symphony performance is a culmination of the most amazing feats of human endeavor. The composer creates the score by some alchemy known only to those in the higher echelons of the creative process.
In Santa Barbara, we're lucky to have Nir Kabaretti conducting, as he has a depth of knowledge about all aspects of music and what it takes to put together performances that honor the original vision of the composer.
When I was a kid, I used to think all a conductor did was wave the baton around and be dramatic, but, apparently, there's a lot more to it than looking handsome in tails.
Of course, each musician in the orchestra represents a different sort of genius in the form of focus, practice, and talent. The instruments themsevles are works of art, created by entirely different kind of artistry.
And in our community we have the Granada Theatre, which not so many years ago was a funky old movie house. The building has been transformed into a first-rank venue for the performing arts, and it's quite a treat to be inside.
Given all of the above, I had to admit that getting dressed up, driving downtown, andl istening to a feast of music was not too much to ask, given the enormous return on investment. So recently, we again said yes to the offer of free tickets and headed out.
When we arrived at the theater, there were two violinists playing on the sidewalk in front of the Granada. They appeared to be identical twins, and they were doing a fine job of fiddling. We scooted past them, enjoying a few notes, and then went up to the ticket taker at the door.
Unfortunately, the scanner did not like our tickets. Closer inspection showed them to be a performance in April of last year. Who knows how these tickets happened to be the ones we'd been given by our friends, but I feared we might soon be back listening to the street musicians.
Before the ticket taker could accuse us of shenanigans and throw us out on our ears, there appeared another Granada worker who whisked us away to the box office. I expected we'd be forced to fork over payment for fresh tickets, which we would have done, if asked. Instead we were treated like royalty and given two fresh complimentary tickets, excellent seats, no questions asked.
What customer service! If only the airline industry could figure out a way to implement such fabulous treatment of air travelers.
The symphony program included a clarient concerto by Aaron Copland. Sicne I once played clarinet passably well, I'm awed by the bravery required to play such a squeak-prone instrument in public. I know very well the challenges of embouchure and breath control. Don Foster, the featured clarinetist, had a great time with his stunning performance.
Next was the "La Creation du Monde" by Milhaud and then Beethoven's Symphony No. 7. The crowd stood and we clapped until our arms arched...or at least mine did. Afterward, aglow with culture, we wended our way with the crowd through the lobby.
I wondered if by chance the twin violinists would still be playing in front of the theater. It'd been two hours since we alked by them on the way in, so I was sure they'd have long ago packed up and headed home. But there they were, their bows still flying and their violin cases on the sidewalk overflowing with cash. The exiting concertgoers cheered them on.
The next time I ponder whether it's worth it to dress up and go out on Saturday night, I'll remember those two young violinists. There are some experiences that simply can't be had on YouTube.