by Stephanie Wilson, Deputy Director, New West Symphony
There’s a moment, just before the curtain goes up, when the performers are posed onstage holding their breath and knowing that just on the other side of that curtain, the audience is doing the very same thing. It’s a magical moment. From a dark theatre, beauty is suddenly born.
It happens with live orchestra also. While the musicians are tuning their instruments, making that fabulous noise, we all know that something miraculous is about to begin: The Maestro is going to wave a wand and cacophony will turn into melody.
At these moments, as we all hold our collective breaths, the anticipation is shared. And then we all exhale at once, and art is born . . . and shared . . . and experienced by each and every one of us.
This doesn’t happen when we watch TV. It happens to a point when we go to the movies, especially if it’s the latest installment of a Star Wars movie and we’re all cheering the heroes and booing the villains. That’s a legitimate shared arts experience. But it doesn’t happen in your living room, even if you’re all watching Andrea Bocelli live on Easter Sunday. It’s not physically possible.
Humans need “belonging”. They crave interaction. They require each other. There’s a multitude of studies about this subject, and some beautiful songs. The Beatles wrote Eleanor Rigby about this very thing.
For now, we’re going to adjust, because that’s also what humans do. That’s why our nation’s new catch phrase is “We’re all in this together!” We Zoom, we Facebook, we listen to beautiful music on YouTube. We know in our hearts that no man is an island. And we will be fine.
But oh, will we be ready to share an experience! To sit by the ancient campfire, under the moon, sharing a bottle of wine while listening to stories; not because we don’t have our own campfire, or moon or wine but because that shared story is so much better when we can hear each other laugh, cry, and even just exhale.
When it’s time, we will all be able to come back to the theatre that is our campfire. And the Symphony will be here. In the words of Diana Ross, “Someday, we’ll be together.”