It was a grand night out for all last night at the Comprehensive School's Theater as people from all parts of the Shire gathered to listen to the locally renowned and nearly always on tune Banda Sinfónica from the Universitaria de La Laguna as they made their yearly tour through the Confederacy. Free tickets for the event went quickly and the auditorium was filled to capacity. It was good to see so many teenagers in the audience sitting with their families. Normally such an event wouldn't attract teenagers but such things can change when both the Middle School and the Comprehensive School's music teachers made attending mandatory for their students. The teachers were in the hall last night taking attendance at the doors. The teachers looked pleased with the turn out. I'm afraid the faces of the students in question didn't reflect that same blissful look.
Donation boxes were passed up and down the aisles just before the conductor made his appearance. I'm sure the villagers showed their gratitude for the symphony's visit by dropping adequate amounts of money into the boxes to cover the group's expenses. Local shops worked with Confederacy Rail to provide transportation. Local families hosted the players in their homes for the two day, one night visit.
At 8:00 P.M. exactly the lights went out bringing a rousing cheer from the audience. The concert was already thirty minutes behind schedule. The Coastal Express was very late pulling into the station and the truck bringing the instruments from the train station had a flat tire. A moment later the theater's lights came back on. The Drisdale's eleven year old son Albert found the lighting booth while returning from a bathroom run and starting playing "Star Trek" with the switches and knobs. Five minutes later the lights dimmed again.
"Albert!" a woman's voice called out from the dark.
"I'm over here," a young boy's voice was heard from the opposite end of the row. The audience clapped, knowing that if 11 year old Albert was in his seat then the dimming lights must be the sign that the concert was about to start. The Conductor walked out onto the stage. The applause grew in volume yet slightly tempered by discomfort. The Theater's chairs were in dire need of recushioning. He tapped his baton on the music stand and the night of music was off.
Cloverdale Weekend Television was on hand to broadcast the event live. CWT brought three cameras, two were focused on the orchestra and one was turned to the audience. The director hoped to fade in and out between shots showing the musicians playing the audience enjoying. Unfortunately, the school's concert choir and orchestra were in the lobby selling refreshments as a fund raiser. The prices were reasonable, and considering the tickets were free, the audience felt obliged to spend their money on concessions. The director soon grew tired of looking for anyone in the audience to broadcast that wasn't stuffing their face with popcorn, drink and homemade cookies and cupcakes. The audience camera was eventually switched off and the cameraman sent home.
The concert ended at 10:02 P.M. Everyone left feeling culturally uplifted and seriously over sugared. Many comments were heard in the parking lot praising the orchestra. Some even hinted they would return next year for the Banda Sinfónica's next visit.