Concert This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   The theater carried a funny scent. My dull sense of smell probably couldn't pick most of them up, but, sitting quietly in my plush seat before the concert, I could detect the smell of old carpets, pounded by decades of street-dusty shoes and cleaning tools. Mixed with that I found the essence of paper - not the slick magazine kind, or even the lined notebook kind, but the porous newsprint kind, with a warm, rough feel. They made the programs out of this inexpensive, friendly paper, and the program now in my hand smudged slightly from the oil of my fingers. The house was dark, of course, with garish lights thrown on the stage, empty except for a few musicians warming up. Looking up, the chandelier glowed in a way which fragmented the angles and depths in each piece of hanging glass, casting a pattern of rainbows on the otherwise shadowed ceiling. The heads of other listeners bobbed gently in my line of sight; soft, dark shadows moving in quiet speech and laughter in the pre-concert lull. Their heads straightened as the conductor took his position in front of the full orchestra, and raised his arms in a dancer's position to begin.

I am awestruck by how a musician can pull a note of music from his instrument as if it had always been there, waiting to be played. The note could be coiled comfortably inside until a finger or a hand or a bow grasped it, and tossed it into the air as a magician displays his colored scarves. I saw the symphony, Beethoven's Pastoral, as a flurry of these colored scarves, falling gently upon my ears as the rain suggested by the fourth movement took shape, surrounding me with sharp desperation as the thunder rose from the timpani.

The other senses fall away in the face of this great music. I found myself pulling a lock of freshly-washed hair to my nose to see if I could still smell, and touching my tongue to my palm to confirm taste.

Applause in this theater is a different sensation altogether. The walls shake with this unexpected challenge on their acoustics, and proportions which moments ago brought pure notes to my ears with the precision of a river now assault me with the onslaught of a flood.

There is a certain joy, too, in this pain, for it is the only music that we in the audience can make in gratitude for the gift the musicians have given us. They sit in the light of the stage, gazing calmly at us. Perhaps they perceive our response as appreciation - I only wish I could give them more.

Our hands, clapping in no confirmed meter or rhythm, sound to me like an ignorant child at a piano; only playing at sound, and unmindful of the cacophony that he has created on an instrument reserved for music. The contrast is almost painful. 1


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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