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Do’s and Do NOT’s at the Walt Disney Concert Hall

The gorgeous Walt Disney Concert Hall
The gorgeous Walt Disney Concert Hall
Dena Burroughs

It was too long to add to the title, but the idea here is to talk about the Do’s and Do NOT’s to best enjoy one of the fabulous concerts by the California Philharmonic at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

You see, during the summer Cal Phil performs five wonderful concerts at the Disney Hall, always on a Sunday, always at 2 p.m. The second concert of the series was just this past July 14, when the orchestra performed pieces by the very popular Andrew Lloyd Webber and by the amazing Italian composer Puccini.

Beyond the wonderful music (which included favorites from “The Phantom of the Opera” and “Tosca” and the participation of three seasoned singers and 100 members of the Cal Phil Chorale) what makes a Cal Phil concert truly special is the insight provided by Maestro Victor Vener. The way in which he explains to the audience what should be looked for in each music piece is invaluable. “You are going to hear a marching band,” he says sometimes, or “pay attention to the sound of the river,” or the storm, or the birds, or whatever it may be. (For the amateur listener, Vener’s guidance is priceless. Take it from someone who A’ced several music appreciation essays after attending Cal Phil’s concerts, mostly thanks to listening intently to this director’s pearls of knowledge and repeating them later on paper.)

If listening to classical music at the Disney Hall sounds overwhelming, know that it isn’t. For starters, it does not have to be an expensive experience. The Hall is compact and no matter where you sit you will get a good show. There isn’t a bad seat in the place and many are affordable.

Second, Maestro Vener makes the ambiance lively. He speaks and he wants a reaction. He wants laughter, participation, clapping, and singing. At the very least you will sing the National Anthem, or a similar patriotic song, at the beginning of the concert. (Of course, when the orchestra starts playing, he will want you to be quiet.)

The best way to go on from here is to list the Do’s and Do NOT’s, this list filled with fresh observations made during the concert this past Sunday…

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Do…

  • Come ready to learn. It will be an eye opening experience. The music you will hear will NEVER sound the same again. Promised!
  • If possible, arrive an hour early, at 1 p.m., for Maestro Vener’s most enlightening pre-concert talk.
  • Dress nicely. But no need to be over the top. There will be both locals and tourists in attendance and so you will see anything from jackets to shorts, but if you look nice you’ll match the Hall.
  • Look around the room. Enjoy the fact that the Disney Hall looks like a boat inside, and then Google why it is that it does!
  • Turn off your phone or set it on silent. If it rings during the show you will be mortified, because phones ring really loudly in perfectly quiet places.
  • Clap after each music piece. Every section represents lots of work and dedication on the part of the musicians and singers. You can manage to clap your hands together in appreciation.

Do NOT… Arrive half way through the first half of the show.

Do NOT… Start smooching with your boyfriend/girlfriend five minutes after you arrived late half way through the first half of the show.

Do NOT… Keep flapping your gorgeous blonde (or any other color) tresses this and that way. The person next to you does not appreciate getting hit by them, and the person behind you may be this reviewer.

Do NOT… Give your boyfriend a neck massage during the program!

Do NOT… Talk, open candy wrappers, or start laughing uncontrollably at something or someone that no one else can see.

It is actually not hard at all… The Disney Hall has a capacity of just over 2,250 people. The easiest way to determine what you should or should not do is to look at what the other 2,000+ folks around you are doing, and do the same.

Your next chance to see Cal Phil in action at the Disney Hall is on July 28, when “Dance Fever,” featuring American dancer and choreographer Derek Hough from “Dancing with the Stars,” will be performed.

Here’s a secret that Maestro Vener told the audience last Sunday… turns out that Hough, besides being good on the dance floor, is a great singer. In England he performed in “Footloose: The Musical,” and on Broadway he starred in “Burn the Floor” in 2010.

And on July 28, the Cal Phil audience will get to see him show it off!

Do the Do’s, avoid the Do NOT’s, and treat yourself to one of Cal Phil’s upcoming concerts. It is one of the best things you can do this summer!

For everything Cal Phil visit www.calphil.org

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Twitter: @denavidasalsera