Violinist and Teacher in Tucson, AZ

Three Complaints About the Venue for Last Sunday’s NTSO Performance

Sunday, June 16th, 2013

NTSOatInterfaithPeaceChapelJune2013Last Sunday, the NTSO performed at the Interfaith Peace Chapel in Dallas. I’m the 3rd from the left in the photo that Georgene took at the final rehearsal. The concert was reasonably well-received, despite some major problems with the venue.

For political reasons, the concert got reviews that I would characterize as unreasonably charitable.

Since I don’t have to be Politically Correct, here is my review:

Complaint 1

There is no good reason to set the thermostat at freezing in a performance venue in Dallas in June. Period. I warned Georgene, and she brought a sweater. She would have been more comfortable in a full winter coat. I would compare the place to a meat locker, except that I would expect the acoustics to be better in a meat locker, which brings me to…

Complaint 2

I have actually been in places where the acoustics were worse (for instance, the Plano Liberty Recreation Center shower room) — but none of those was intended for use for musical performance. Any architect who would design a performance venue as an echo chamber needs to find a job that is much less intellectually demanding. I don’t care if the design was “award-winning,” (which casts doubts on the qualifications of the group granting any such award) it is just not suitable for musical performance – or anything else involving sound.

The acoustics were so bad that the audience was unable to understand the majority of the spoken material. The two very talented violinists who did the Bach Double had to forgo the piano accompaniment because it was not possible to synchronize with the accompaniment (the echo was so bad that they simply could not hear the pianist, standing right next to him – and the pianist could not hear them, either). The performance of the recorder quartet was so jumbled that it was painful to listen to. The final note of Palladio echoed for a good 5 seconds.

I seriously considered removing my hearing aids and putting in earplugs to make it easier to follow the conductor.

Complaint 3

The stage in the venue is a personal injury lawsuit waiting to happen. The rear of the stage is a 3-foot drop-off with no rail or back-stop. I spent the entire performance worrying about the possibility of scooting my chair over the edge.

The “award-winning” venue was (I won’t grace the place with a link.)

Under the circumstances, the performers actually did a good job, despite what amounted to musical torture. Too bad that the audience was not able to tell.

I really hope we never book that venue again.

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