“I grew up in Oakland, and my first exposure to classical music was at the Oakland Symphony’s children’s concerts,” writes Kaya Oakes at Thursday’s (10/25) Slate.com. “The symphony’s conductor was the late Calvin Simmons [who] made the shows vocal, interactive, and a hell of a lot of fun. When my parents occasionally took us to shows at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco, I loved the music but was also bored out of my skull, fidgety, and itchy in dress-up clothes. As a person whose primary beat is writing about religion, I can’t help but notice the parallels between classical music and religion in America today. As an aging Christian population watches its congregations shrink, younger seekers who don’t feel welcomed give up on church. Americans still discover classical music in their youth, but [if they] go to the symphony … they’re asked to treat it like a religious space … Bach’s music was certainly played for the 1 percenters of his time, but it was also played in taverns and coffeehouses…. An audience that can’t communicate, fidget, tend to a child, or cough is one that isn’t in touch with its humanity—the very core of the attendees.”

Posted October 26, 2018