“If you stop every time a dog barks, your road will never end.” This Saudi Arabian Proverb couldn’t have been more applicable this weekend as the Grand Teton Music Festival Saturday evening concert was plagued by relentless outside noise in the form of a barking dog. This wasn’t simply a dog that barked a few times and left, instead, it was a creature that barked at a metronome marking of approximately 100BPM for nearly ten minutes…
The canine’s timing couldn’t have been worse as it decided to embark (no pun intended) on the vocal assault during one of the quiet movements from Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E minor.
Fortunately, soloist Lynn Harrell, a consummate professional, took a moment between the second and third movements to tell the audience “Where was this dog during The Seasons”, referring to the “Spring” movement from Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons which the festival played a few weeks earlier. Apparently, GTMF music director, Donald Runnicles, had a different outlook on the situation as he discreetly fashioned his thumb and index finger into the shape of a pistol.
This isn’t the only time the GTMF has had to endure intrusions from outside noise and the festival has apparently decided to learn from the Saudi Arabian proverb. As a result of these audible intrusions, the festival has launched a capital campaign to improve sound proofing from exterior noise.
I was fully expecting to see the interim executive director or an executive board member come out at the beginning of the second half and use the uncontrollable incident as “Exhibit A” in an impromptu address demonstrating the need for a successful fundraising campaign but nothing of the sort developed.
Fortunately, the remainder of the concert, Strauss’ Ein Heildenleben, went off without similar interruptions.
Postscript: I later discovered that the dog in question belonged to a local establishment and it was not harmed during the attempts to stifle its barking.