EMBRACE THE PARADOX
Thanks to my parents’ influence, I grew up playing and listening to classical music. I also grew up loving sports. Thankfully, Columbus, Ohio has both. Even with a terrific classical music scene though, Ohio State University athletics always seems to get the upper hand in this town. OK, sure. Ohio’s a football state, but I think the two actually complement each other and have more in common than your average sports fan might think. So come on, Buckeye fans – how about a night at the symphony?
CLASSICAL MUSIC AND BIG TEN SPORTS GO HAND IN HAND
No really. They do. Here’s why:
- Organizations like the Columbus Symphony Orchestra (CSO) inspire young students to perform and love classical music.
- Students listen to music and then learn to play instruments.
- Students go on field trips to the Ohio Theatre and to as many sporting events as possible.
- Students realize playing an instrument well gets them into said sporting events for free.
- Student musicians dream of performing in front of 106,000 cheering fans at football games (or just 2,779 in local concert halls).
- String players and vocalists attend football games, but secretly dream of dotting the i during the Script Ohio. (Can’t you just picture a guy in a tux carrying an upright bass for that? Awesome!)
- The athletic teams count on the musicians to be a huge and dependable cheering force at each and every game.
- Sports fans in Ohio don’t leave their seats until after The Best Damn Band in the Land (TBDBITL – The Ohio State University Marching Band) has performed.
See? Without music ensembles originally inspired by classical music, athletic teams would be without their main source of encouragement as well as without fan entertainment during halftimes and time outs. It’s that classical music inspiration that allows sports teams to win. Without it, they’d lose and who really wants to cheer for the likes of the pre-Peyton Manning-era Colts again? (Or the Chicago Cubs – not really sure. I’ve always rooted for both anyway.)
Since classical music helps sports team win, my belief is that sports fans should help support classical music in return. Just look at what they have in common and then let me know if you still can’t picture OSU’s Coach Meyer, Coach Matta and their athletes at the next concert showing their support for the CSO.
- Rankings: There are six (count ‘em, 6) Big Ten universities listed among the Top 25 music schools in the U.S, two of which, Indiana and Michigan rank higher than Juilliard. The basketball teams of Indiana, Michigan and The Ohio State University all made it to the Sweet 16. Wisconsin and Illinois also made it to the NCAA tourney. Coincidence?
- Hockey: Big Ten schools have hockey teams. CSO Music director, Jean-Marie Zeitouni, played hockey as a kid. Sure he likes the Montreal Canadiens, but we can work on that.
- Recognition: Alicia Hui, a very talented violinist in the CSO, was very well-received after she played Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto #1. Aaron Craft, a very talented basketball player, was very well-received after he hit a last-second, game winning 3-pointer in the NCAA tourney. Musicians and athletes are totally alike. Who knew?
- The Lone Ranger: The Columbus Symphony Orchestra played the William Tell Overture last October. The Indiana University Big Red Pep Band plays the William Tell Overture at every home basketball game – so well in fact that it’s ranked the Most Outstanding Time Out in college basketball. Look it up. Sports fans cheer to Rossini!
O – H! I – O!
So what do you say Buckeye fans? Football season is over. Basketball season is over. The Spring game has been played. What else do you have going on between now and August?
Marching bands play Holst in Ohio Stadium. Pep bands play Rossini in Assembly Hall. You’ve heard this great music before, now I encourage you to try out the original in the Ohio Theatre.
Support your favorite teams (and The Ohio State University Chorale) by joining me next Saturday, May 4th, at the Ohio Theatre for the CSO’s last performance of the season. It’s never too late to try something new and my guess is that you’ll probably even recognize some of what you’ll hear.
Just think B for Buckeyes! And Bach, Berg, Brahms, Berlioz, and Brown!
Never heard of Bach, Berg, Brahms and Berlioz – the four composers whose music is being played? Who cares? Had any of you ever really heard of Appalachian State before they beat Michigan?
As for Brown – well, that’s me and I would love for you to join me next Saturday. So what do you say, Coach Meyer? How about it, Coach Matta? Student athletes? TBDBITL alumni? You can find me in the center section of the rear balcony, Row R, Seat 110 after the pre-concert chat. Please stop by. Say hello and join me in embracing the paradox that is classical music and Big Ten sports teams. Join me in listening to the best damn orchestra you just might ever hear!