Last night I watched The Lawrence Welk Show while eating dinner. What has my life become?
Before I went back to 1981 with Lawrence and his crew, I took a tour of Symphony Hall, where the Boston Symphony Orchestra performs.* I’ve been to numerous concerts and events there, and I’ve always been intrigued by the architecture.
The volunteer tour guide took us on a 1.5 hour tour, and it was AWESOME. He told us so many interesting tidbits about the history of the building, and of the orchestra. I learned that it was the first hall built with acoustics in mind. That’s why there are only a few rows on the sides, and why there is latticework on the balconies (so the music can go through, instead of bouncing off a solid surface). Poor Henry Higginson, the founder of the BSO, studied music in Vienna until an unfortunate bloodletting incident (he suffered from migraines, and they let blood out of his hands!!) damaged his hands. He came back to Boston and worked for his father in business. But it was his dream to start an orchestra like he had seen in Europe. So he did just that, in 1881.
It was so cool to sit in the hall when it was empty. We went backstage and saw the “tuning room” where the musicians tune up…before they tune up onstage. 🙂 I had a fun surprise moment…we walked by a cabinet with a bunch of stickers on it. The stickers were from different groups who have performed in the hall: the London Philharmonic, Paris Orchestra, etc. And there at the top of the cabinet was a GUSTER sticker. Guster did perform there, with the Boston Pops a few years ago. I went to both shows, of course.
We went to the basement and saw practice rooms and huge instrument cases that are used when the musicians travel. The tour guide stopped in front of a huge wooden harp case, and told a story of how the first female musicians were harpists, and when they traveled to performances, there were no female dressing rooms. So they had to change in their harp cases!
Thank you, Henry Higginson, for establishing one of the best orchestras in the world!
*Number 6 on birthday list. 30 to go.