Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A Philharmonic Incident

By Bobby

Recently, I attended a performance of the South Carolina Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, where great young musicians begin their training with great masterpieces and sometimes even a movie selection or two. I almost wished Radio Television Luxembourg would even return "Pink Panther Theme" to The Price Is Right (from 1976-1992, the pricing game "Safe Crackers" used the theme; Mark Goodson had to pay the copyright holders, so it was dropped, despite it being a signature of the game) after hearing the youth orchestra play it.

However, while the music showed the proficiency of the youth (in three groups), I wonder about the dress code of an orchestra today, as the attending parents and friends have even tripped over the dress codes that I have learned over the decade I have attended orchestral events.

Female Conductors
Is a skirt with a high slit on the front corner appropriate where as she is walking on stage, where she is baring her left leg as she walks on stage? The slit was very high from my perspective. You do not wear a slit where almost the entire body can be shown as you walk to your perch at the centre of the orchestra where the players can see your bare leg!

The fact the bare leg showing is dangerous is ironic, considering the younger orchestra members are wearing black tops and slacks, something which has changed over the past forty years, when full black dresses were the rule (and still is for singers). But instrumentalists today have the choice of a jacket and slacks, something female vocalists do not have.

The younger boys did not wear the formal clothing as the older ones do, but that is understood. They had to wear identical clothing. But any young music leader should understand what you wear matters! In the "senior" group of the youth orchestra, the lead violin player herself had a jacket she took off when she was the featured soloist, with the bare-shouldered look for the feature.

General Audience
Some of the youth who attended the concert seemed to violate the cardinal rule of concert dress. Why do kids think jeans, tee-shirts, and shorts are appropriate for these events? Now this is a youth event, and some parents followed the rules, but some parents and a slew of youth violated the cardinal rule of concert dress. Who would attend a Philharmonic event dressed as if they were going to rock concerts, or even church?

Yes, I mean church. Today’s generation, who has attended Emergent Church services where the Bible is ignored for popular culture, or where teen dancers who jiggle to rock has replaced sacred music, is known for their rag-tag looks. One year I observed a few leaders wearing Viagra tee-shirts! In another situation, one adult had Viagra memorabilia pasted on the back of her car window and bumper sticker!

Youth need to remember when going to a concert, please wear a suit or a dress, and ladies, make sure the hems are calf-length or below, and absolutely no cleavage. This should be a place of modesty.

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