By Greg Smith
Saturday night, while attending the Mississippi Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestra concert at the Saenger Theatre in downtown Biloxi, I remembered a lesson I learned from listening to my own show. It was a lesson taught by Marilyn Sherman on my second-ever podcast. (Episode 19)
My parents were invited by Randy and Denise Doyle. Denise serves on the board of directors for the Symphony. Your’s truly, the undatable one, was the 5th wheel. We enjoyed a fabulous dinner at Mary Mahoney’s restaurant and we were so engaged in conversation and laughter that we lost track of the time. We had to rush, but we made it just as the maestro was saying his first words. Of course I was escorted to “wheelchair row” which is at the very back of the theatre, farthest away from the stage.
The music was familiar and soothing: Rossini’s The Barber of Seville. But from so far back in the theatre, I had to squint to get any focused view of the orchestra. I found myself reclining back in my chair, closing my eyes and enjoying the music. I became a little drowsy.
During the intermission, I made my decision. “After everyone is seated and out of the aisle, I’m gonna roll up and sit in the front row!”
I asked Denise for permission. She was intrigued by the question and went to get an answer from somebody else. But my mind was made up. “Nobody is going to interrupt the performance of the orchestra to walk down the aisle and make me move away,” I thought. After everyone was seated, and before the performance began, I made my move.
The first two rows were empty. I made sure my presence was not blocking anyone’s view. When I arrived up front, the bassist and a couple of cello players looked at me, smiled and nodded.
I was rewarded for my courage immediately by the selection the orchestra played! It was Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition which is a piece we played in high school! I knew this music well!
For the next 30 minutes, I was deeply engaged. I could see the fingers of the musicians moving up and down their instruments, plucking at the strings. I could see their facial expressions as the music flowed through their souls.
I’ve seen Miles Davis from 30 feet away. I’ve seen Stevie Wonder, The Who, Journey, Neo, Genesis, the Pretenders, John Legend, Carlos Santana… I don’t want to take the time to list them all right now. This performance by the Mississippi Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestra was one of the most enjoyable concerts I’ve ever attended. Moving up to the front row in life definitely changes everything. Don’t settle for what you are initially given in life. Always strive to get a better view! Thanks Marilyn!!