Monday, August 29, 2005

Single Ticket Morning at the Symphony

This morning at 8AM, single tickets went on sale at the San Francisco Symphony.

Most of the tickets are sold earlier in the year as part of subscription plans.

So this is essentially the time for the Discerning Music Lover, who really doesn't need to hear Beethoven's Nine Symphonies ever again, to do a pick-and-choose among the 30+ concerts that make up the symphony season.

The wait was long, over an hour at least, but there were some lovely compensations.

There was free coffee put out by the Symphony.

And though I'm not a big fan, there were free donuts too.

The employees were even going up and down the line offering season programs to us so we could figure out what we wanted to buy.

The time went by quickly because I had a ridiculously interesting person to jabber with named Denny Berthiaume, a 62-year-old jazz pianist/composer/playwright/former professor who was brilliant and interested and who liked talking about music. Click here to check out his website where he has samples of his music and is selling his own Jazz CDs.

Standing between us all morning was a fretful Russian woman who was waiting for an absent sister to show up. Denny offered her the use of his cell phone but she was too frightened and used the pay phone instead.

San Francisco has had an invasion of Russians in the last ten years, mostly Jewish, mostly elderly. What they all seem to have in common is hating having their pictures being taken by a stranger, a love of shiny, sparkly things (at least on the women's part), and an adoration for cheap, live classical music, particularly when there is a Russian composer or performer involved.

The only single ticket I couldn't get for myself was a $20 Center Terrace seat for Rostropovich conducting Shostakovich later in the season.

The Russians had already bought them in the two hours since the box office opened.

My ticket seller was friendly, helpful and had a huge smile.

Part of that was because HIS computer wasn't malfunctioning and neither was his printer.

That was the fate of the people next to me, who called in "Techical Support" who was doing a great "Who Me?" shrugging act. "You know how computers are," he seemed to be saying as the ticket sellers looked like they were going to have a nervous breakdown.

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