There’s an absolutely fabulous video making the rounds at Instagram featuring comedian Kimberly Clark in a segment about orchestras…and Gustavo Dudamel. She has quite the fan-crush on Dudamel and while her set is pure gold, there’s more going on that should get your attention.
Clark explains how much concerts move her and there’s real sincerity in her delivery. She really likes the way Dudamel’s hair bounces around too but just when Clark gets to a point where she’s on a roll about all the things that move her to joy, she forces us to realize one of most negative stereotypes the field: patrons don’t get to experience joy on their own terms.
She cuts right to the quick with one line:
“You gotta have that repressed joy when you go to the orchestra, you know?”
I felt like simultaneously laughing and crying but didn’t have the time because she launched right into another truth.
“They just take all the joy away, you gotta go ‘Mm, beautiful music.’ That’s no fun.”
If you’re wondering who “they” are, it’s us. Every manager, musician, board member, and core audience member who rolls their eyes, shushes another patron, uses “Beloved” in marketing copy, lectures an audience member for clapping between movements, or simply doesn’t take the time to make patrons feel welcome.
We’re not just maintaining an environment of repressed joy; we’ve made it our brand.