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Classical Notes

Standing on Tradition

Posted at 11:09 PM on April 11, 2006 by Valerie Kahler
Filed under: Concerts

In response to Don's post about "requisite" standing Os, I have this to say:

[leaps to feet, clapping wildly]

Bravo! Bravo!

Having been on both sides of a perfunctory standing ovation, I'll say that as a performer it can be embarrassing when you know the performance didn't merit an A+. It's one thing if it's Grandma and Aunt Marge (and the concert was in the living room!) but entirely another when you sense the crowd going through the motions. And yes, as an audience member I've often felt compelled rather than impelled to stand.


Is this phenomenon at all related to the profusion of tip jars in the last 5-10 years? Used to be tipping was for service...you know, walking from here to there, carrying something. And, importantly, tipping was for waiters/bussers who were making below minimum wage and relied on tips for the bulk of their incomes.

Now, tip jars are everywhere - at the coffee counter, at the sandwich shop, the airport parking shuttle.

Lest you think I'm just another stingy curmudgeon: I'm a former waiter myself and a notorious overtipper. I almost always tip unless I'm met with outright surliness.