Everyone wants to know that their work is worthwhile and appreciated. That’s true even of the members of America’s oldest performing arts group. The Handel & Haydn Society is looking for a child who was literally wowed by a recent classical music concert.
The Society had just finished its rendition of Mozart’s “Masonic Funeral” at Boston’s Symphony Hall on Sunday. Suddenly, a youngster blurted out loudly: “WOW!”
Boston classical music station WCRB-FM captured the exuberance on audio. The crowd is heard bursting first into laughter and then applause for the young fan.
The organization founded in 1815 has mounted a search for the kid it’s calling the “Wow Child.” No one wants to reprimand him or her for not sitting reverently during the performance. Rather, the group wants to offer the child a chance to meet the conductor and hear the orchestra again as a guest of honor.
“It was one of the most wonderful moments I’ve experienced in the concert hall,” Handel & Haydn president David Snead wrote in a letter to concertgoers. He asked them to share the child’s name.
“While (artistic director) Harry Christophers was holding the audience rapt in pin-drop silence following the music’s end, what sounded like a child of about six years of age couldn’t hold back,” Snead says. He called it “something I’ve never before experienced in my 40-plus years of concert-going.”
WCRB was recording the orchestra’s season finale. It will be aired this autumn. It described the youngster’s exuberance as “unbelievably charming.”
“That actually brought me to tears,” tweeted Mary Jane Leach, a composer and performer in Valley Falls, New York.
Handel & Haydn said it’s delighted. The group hopes the appreciation from its “young new fan” erases any notions that classical music is stuffy and aloof.
The venerable orchestra celebrated its bicentennial in 2015. It is older than the New York and Vienna Philharmonics. Both of those debuted nearly three decades later in 1842. It is the United States’ oldest continuously operating arts organization. How refreshing to consider a new generation of fans might have just begun!
(Members of the Handel & Haydn Society set up for a bicentennial exhibit at the Boston PublicLibrary in 2015. The group generated an exuberant young fan on Sunday at a performance at Boston’s Symphony Hall. AP Photo)