As an addendum to my last Upcoming Concert post, I'd like to point out that it's WONDERFUL in this day and age to not only have live music in the Nutcracker pit but to be using Tchaikovsky's original complement of winds and brasses instead of playing one of the reduced versions that so many groups are having to resort to. It's difficult material, but everything fits on the instruments and the colors he gets from the orchestra are beautiful and unique. It's a treat for us, and I wonder how many of the audience members are aware of what a rarity this is becoming.
Before the show and at intermission the lip of the orchestra pit is full of parents and young children looking down at us, learning about the names of the instruments or just calling down to their friends and neighbors and teachers. That's an experience I remember from my childhood, but one which today's children are exposed to less and less. The dance company in my own community in South Bend has been using recorded music for their Nutcracker for years now, which is why I'm commuting all the way to Glen Ellyn, Illinois - a 250 mile round-trip - to get my Sugarplum fix this season.
So please, if you attend a ballet or musical theater production, and you actually see live musicians, know that it's not always that way. Budgets are being slashed left and right for arts organizations, and the excitement of live music is becoming a thing of the past in many communities. Please support your local symphony or ballet. Please at least tell someone how much you enjoy seeing and hearing real people performing these classic works. Please at least come down to the front and wave at us. We're working hard, and we're having fun doing it, and we're painfully aware that every year might be the last.