I remember scrimping together loose change. Saving my allowance. Dollar bills, quarters, dimes, maybe even nickels.
The price was $7.00–or was it $12.00 per ticket? I cannot remember how much we paid, I just know I was getting ready to have the first real cultural event of my life.
It was 1989. My oldest sister, Julia Montoro, had married and moved to Cleveland, Ohio. She suggested that we save our money and buy tickets to attend the Cleveland Orchestra. I was 10 years old, but I still recall the excitement of saving money and the idea of going to hear a real, live concert.
The Cleveland Orchestra is known as one of “The Big Five” orchestras in the United States. Founded in 1918 by Adella Prentiss Hughes, it has achieved world-wide fame. The orchestra has seen eight different conductors over this span of time, and when my family and I attended a concert at Severance Hall, Christoph von Dohnyani was the conductor.
I do not remember what kind of music the orchestra played that evening, nor do I remember anything we did or said in response. But somehow the memory of planning to attend the concert has remained with me.
My dad believed in letting us hear good musicians. He was not always able to take us to hear famous musicians, but he did his best to expose us to good music always.
Once, at a church in California, he met a young man who played the classical guitar. He may have met him at a music store (as usually happened in those days), but where he met him did not particularly matter. Dad asked the young man to come and play for us. I still have a mental picture of sitting in a church Sunday school classroom while the young man, whose name I do not remember, played piece after piece for my siblings and me.
Years later, while attending Pensacola Christian College, I had many opportunities to hear good musicians play. I even had the chance to interview some of them for my Journalism class. The love for their music and the joy they had expressing that music still sticks with me.
I wrote earlier about letting your children listen to all kinds and genres of good music. Taking them to hear a good musician play or attending a concert or an orchestra is another way to expose them to quality music. Even if it’s a simple concert on the lawn one humid summer evening, I would encourage you to do all you can to allow them to have that experience.
Today, the price of a balcony seat at Severance Hall starts at $49.00. That price is steep for a family. However, if your children are under 18 years of age, they are admitted for free, thanks to a program called “Under 18s Free”. The program is designed to encourage a new generation to visit the Severance or Blossom Halls in Cleveland and to learn to enjoy music.
Most people in our culture understand the value of passing the love of music on to the next generation. I wonder if Christian parents understand this, too?
My dad and mom did. And today, I am grateful.