You Just Have To See This

Although it has made the rounds pretty quickly since yesterday, you may not have heard about the fist fight that broke out in the balcony during a pops concert this week at the Boston Symphony Orchestra…

UPDATE 12:09 PM CT: There is a much more informative article in today’s Boston Globe by Geoff Edgers. The article reports that the man who initiated the shushing is now planning to press charges against the other patron, identified only as a 44 year old male. Furthermore, Edger’s Boston Globe blog posts some style tips for would be bare knuckled brawlers, funny stuff: click here.

Click here to watch video from the fight. Furthermore, an ever-present camera phone captured the moment from what appears to be a floor seat. You can’t see much but you get to hear one of the screams and watch the orchestra stop, pause, and then start again.

I have to say that on a positive note, the video still featured in the Boston Globe article shows that a number of those in attendance in the balcony section are definitely members of a younger crowd…

More On Macs
Chicago Opera Theater General Director Brian Dickie posted a comment to the Microsoft Vista article from early this week where he describes that “after 23 years with DOS and then each successive version of Windows up to XP, I got a Mac on March 16.”

In the end, he reports that it took him all of five minuets to get used to the new OS…

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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8 thoughts on “You Just Have To See This”

  1. This was a long time in coming. I have warned people about this. The Boston Pops has a long history of playing this disgraceful music promoting a culture of violence and in this case, with music from Gigi, high class prostitution. Why is it a surprise to anyone that this caliber of person should comprise the audience?

    Boston used to be known as an arbiter of morality. When you heard something was banned in Boston, you knew it was something with which decent people did not become involved.

    Now I hear orchestras across the country are adopting Boston’s tawdry tactics and playing the same type of music!

    You wrote recently about the need to attract younger people to the arts, but playing this type of music is not the way to go about it.

    I can only hope that responsible people will step up and KEEP YOUNG PEOPLE AWAY from symphonies!

  2. I hope the BSO invites the “shsh”-er back; IMHO he’s a hero. I can understand why someone might not respond well to being asked to be quiet, but you don’t go throwing punches.

    Now let’s just hope the “telling people not to applaud between movements scares away listeners” people don’t use this incident as a pretext to say that the expectation that audience members not talk during the performance creates a “stuffy” atmosphere that also scares away listeners.

  3. I can’t tell if Joe is being ironic or not with his “KEEP YOUNG PEOPLE AWAY from symphonies!” but I think it is worth noting that the shusher was a man under 30 and the shushee was over 40. I don’t know that I’d go so far as to say somebody deserves the death penalty for talking during a performance but I think it is a matter of respect for the performers that you be quiet (as for in between movements, I’d personally like to hear some applause). Also, I don’t know what everyone else’s experiences with Boston in general are but, I feel like if there’s on place in the world where I could expect a fight to break out in a symphony concert, it would be Boston.

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