Kiddie Concerts

Let’s face it, elementary-age school and community programs are more fun for the young performers than the audience of parents and siblings that watch painfully underdeveloped theater skills blossom on stage.

Having a rather full music studio, I was invited to two consecutive weekends of shows in which several of my students were performing. My ultimate goal as a teacher is to educate my students in their art and give them a basis to be a wise consumer of music in the future (i.e. Support the Starving Artists!!), not turn them into the next Renee Fleming or Arthur Rubinstein. I doubt I could get any person to those levels. Anyway, to support local arts, I attended a production of Aladdin Kids and Thoroughly Modern Millie, Jr. The first production told the Disney version of Scheherezade’s tale but emphasized a friendship between Aladdin and Princess Jasmine rather than the whole “Disney romance happens in 1.5 hours” trick. The next weekend, students in grades 5-8 pulled off a staged version of Millie, where the female leads towered over their male romance counterparts by a good 6 inches……before heels.

For those of you unaware, cell phones are not only distracting when they ring, the signals can mess with wireless microphones. Yep, your cell phone can interrupt little Timmy’s one line AND make his developing voice be rather impossible to hear. “BUT…” say you in genius fashion, “I keep my phone on silent and only text during the show. Who will notice that???”

If I’m sitting in the same auditorium, IT WILL BE ME THAT NOTICES!!!!

While I was underwhelmed myself, I attended to support a student who was in the chorus. She was singing and dancing her little heart out while a parent two seats down thought that her texting wasn’t distracting anyone. Did you not hear the announcement before the show? Did you not realize that your screen’s backlight is rather bright in my peripheral vision? And from the looks of it, your conversation wasn’t important.

Kids and adults both need to know how to act during performances of any type. Sadly, our culture’s push to become more casual as the years progress, we forget formalities that make life more enjoyable for everyone. Audience behavior matters to the other audience members and the performers. It is up to the adults to model and enforce that behavior is important.

Might I suggest that you begin with ignoring your cell phone for a measly hour and focusing your attention on kids who spent their spare time the past 6-8 weeks NOT in front of a TV or computer screen.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Cathi Willms
    Mar 13, 2012 @ 18:28:12

    Unfortunately, your comments probably won’t reach the ones who most need to heed them. KU concerts have been the few times where excellent audience etiquette was practiced. I love your last sentence!



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