When I go to Carnegie Hall, I like to dress the part. I take my Grammy’s mink from the back of the closet. Sometimes I find a hat. Definitely a vintage velvet handbag. It’s hectic to pull this kind of finery together on such short notice, but you can only get the $4 rush tickets a couple hours before showtime. Also, comfortable footwear is a must, given the endless and dizzying staircase up to the nosebleed section.
I like it up there. The musicians on stage are several miles away, but you’re really close to the ceiling. Plaster artisans back in the day had some kind of attention to detail.
|The stage at Carnegie Hall from the nosebleed seats.|
Most lately, we were up there with Kent and Darcey before they left town. We settled into our red velvet seats, bathed in the cavernous golden glow of the place, occasionally brushed by a crystal from one of the massive chandeliers dangling just overhead.
The music starts. Soaring orchestral harmonies that slither and braid every air molecule. My favorite musician is always the timpani player. It’s usually a guy with glasses who looks like Kenneth from 30 Rock. He stands back there, counting in his head. The three notes he plays all night are the best of the evening. Boomchackalacka. Whoot whoot! We all clap wildly.
At the intermission, a woman who looks like an artistic quilter approaches. Meanwhile, the four of us are very engaged with the whole idea of being in Carnegie hall under the twinkly lights. The woman beelines for Tom and says, “Just so you know, you don’t clap between the movements. Some might consider it embarrassing.” Tom thanks her. She strides off.
We all look at each other. I wonder why Tom was selected as the target recipient. Does he look like the one most open to constructive criticism? Or was he just the tallest and most obvious? We discuss.
The lights dim. The music begins again. A movement ends. Everyone up in our sky-high section— the families with the six kids, the workers who just got off their 11-7 shifts, the rows and rows of people who paid for their tickets with crumpled dollar bills and shorted their grocery spending to afford it—
Everyone up there with us in the nosebleeds applauds with great fervor and heart-felt emotion. This is clearly not the right section for those who know how to properly enjoy the symphony.