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Classical Notes

Roger Federer in concert

Posted at 11:08 AM on March 14, 2006 by John Zech
Filed under: The blog

This past weekend I went to some of the early-round tennis matches at the Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, CA. One of the great things about the first week at these tournaments is watching matches on the "outer courts" where you can see the top players up close. But sometimes, it's even more fun to watch the players warming up on the practice courts.

On Saturday afternoon I saw a big gathering by one practice court, and there was the biggest star of the game--Roger Federer. It was cold and windy, and since Federer wasn't playing that day he didn't practice much. But while his coach (the great Tony Roche) hit with his practice partner, Roger went over to the crowd by the fence to sign autographs. Some of the girls at one end of the fence yelled "Roger, come here, we're your biggest fans!"

Wouldn't it be great if something like that happened in the classical music world? Maybe it does somewhere that I don't know about, but imagine if people got tickets for a concert series and they could wander in and out of different concerts going on simultaneously, and then walk into rehearsal rooms while soloists or ensembles or even orchestras were practicing. Then, during a break they could rush the stage for autographs.

This might be another way to break down the "fourth wall" that separates the audience from the folks on stage. In the same way fans in the ballpark hope to catch a homer or a foul ball, maybe we could have the conductor or soloist toss some "goodies" into the audience at the end of the concert--souvenirs, or something that would give them a free ticket to another event.