A young man went to hear the orchestra play music from The Godfather. He was surprised that many in the audience behaved like moviegoers (exactly the demographic the CSO and every other US orch is trying to attract). So he wrote a letter to the local paper:
I think Chicago Symphony Orchestra concert goers need a refresher course on civility. Last night’s performance by the CSO, playing the score to “The Godfather,” was remarkable and very well played by the orchestra.
Unfortunately, the audience members, by and large, behaved like they were at a showing of “The Godfather” in Millennium Park. The transgressions ranged from constant chatter, cell phones ringing, cell phone use, sneaking in crinkly chips and candy wrappers and inexplicable laughter and cheering for once classic movie lines, now made into a gimmick by the audience. It was readily apparent most in attendance took neither the movie nor the performance seriously.
What bothers this writer most, however, is that nobody seemed to remember they were not at a viewing of “The Godfather,” but they were at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and while the audience ruined both, the disrespect for the performers was truly astounding.
The biggest atrocity of the evening came upon the closing scene of the movie. As the credits began to roll, the audience simply gathered their things, spoke at normal volume and proceeded out the aisle; perhaps unaware the lights remained off (due to the glow of their cell phones) and deaf to the Orchestra completing their performance (by those talking around them).
I am 26 years old. While I do not pretend to be a snob for high-art, I certainly know how to behave at performances. I hope those going to the encore performance tonight, or any other performance in the future, enjoy it. I also hope they can pay the orchestra and fellow audience members some respect and show up on time, sit, be quiet and put their phone away for a few hours.
— Thomas Carol, Chicago