The Orchestra

For Mother’s Day, I decided to take the family to the Pittsburgh Orchestra. Jaclyn loves music and would sincerely appreciate this type of event, my only hesitation was whether or not the kids could make it through without disrupting the performance or ruining the event for the audience around us.

Of course, the orchestra is mostly associated with stuffy rich people who do not want to be bothered by squirmy children, so that was why I got very excited when I saw the orchestra offered tickets in a “Family Circle” section. I figured that I’ll buy tickets in the Family Circle section where we will be surrounded by other parents in a similar dilemma of trying to subdue their children and factoring a simple bell curve to the equation, our children would probably be on the lower end of behavior curve but some other outlier brat would cause a huge scene and by comparison, our kids would look closer to the norm. However, it is never good policy to depend on an outlier to determine your outcome!

We got to the orchestra with our “Family Circle” tickets in hand and everyone was dressed in tailored suits, gowns, and fancy garb – we were not in “evening attire”. We did see two other kids about the age of Winston & Dalia, but they were childhood prodigies at the piano and performing a duet in a ballroom before the symphony began. The prodigies were also in little tuxedos for 7 year old kids.

We asked an usher to help us to the Family Circle section, my hopes of seeing other families with little kids were quickly extinguished – everyone around us was superbly dressed, no children, and some even had those fancy binoculars to see the stage with greater clarity.

The orchestra was wonderful, it’s cost was the same as going to a ballgame and the performance was truly magnificent. The piano player (Daniil Trifonov) in the video above was performing, he was worth the price of admission alone as he is not typically in Pittsburgh and travels the world and accompanies many orchestras. He swings wildly from banging away at the keys like a mad demon to caressing it so lightly with his face inches from the keys. Just watching him perform provided true entertainment, the kids leaned forward and watched his fingers jolt across the ivories, then the kids leaned back into their chairs seemingly unimpressed.

The kids reached deep inside and gave their best behavior in their lifetimes. They did not talk for the entire time, they barely kicked the seats in front of them, but they still managed to draw attention to themselves from the stuffy guests due to the following:

  • Squirming in chair caused a little noise as their clothing fabric rustled against the seat fabric
  • Their shoe tapped the ground which was quite audible in the quiet setting
  • We provided them gum to minimize talking, but their chewing was loud enough to disrupt others at times
  • I told the kids that if they were feeling squirmy, they should just relax and close their eyes. At one point, Winston closed his eyes and laid his head on the arm rest between him and Dalia – then Dalia pulled her arm back away from his head (perhaps to give him some space for his nap…) and then forcibly elbowed him right in the face to signal that she was unhappy that he was dominating the shared armrest. Fortunately, Winston slid off the armrest without much fuss.

These are nit pick things in almost any other setting, but these were really noticeable to the fellow audience members around us in the acoustics of Heinz Hall. While I wanted the audience to not be distracted by my kids, I am always thankful that our family could participate in the event. The pros outweighed the cons, at least for us!

The kids were hankering for a snack prior to the concert and they had never been to the famous Primanti Brothers, where they make six inch high sandwiches covered with fries and coleslaw. The kids ate chicken fingers and observed the cooks assemble the gigantic sandwiches, they were more mesmerized by that than the orchestra.

Happy Mother’s Day Jaclyn!

3 thoughts on “The Orchestra

  1. Also, let me be the first to wish Jackalope a Happy Birthday! It’s one of my favorite days of the year!
    Maybe to celebrate you can take the kids to a pharmaceutical drug conference.


  2. Yes, I am not sure how I forgot to capture the fountain incident. Prior to the show starting, we were sitting in a beautiful garden area that you can only get to by having tickets to the orchestra. Winston and Dalia were marveling at the fountain and his one foot slide off the side and his entire foot was immersed and probably up to six inches of his right leg. That incident may also have contributed to our “outsider” status.


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