February 22nd, 2014, 8pm

It was 10.6°C with few clouds. The breeze was brisk.

Two nights ago, I stumbled upon this orchestra flash mob video on Facebook and ended up in tears. (WHYYYY!) Such a sucker for violins. Damn violins! I made a mental note in between sniffles to check out the SF Symphony schedule—I used to pass the Symphony building every single day but never really bothered to check out a show.

Found out that tonight was the last night for Scheherazade with a guest Spanish conductor. I’ll have to admit I wasn’t familiar with any of the songs on the program (Haydn Symphony No. 6, Cello Concerto…) but hey, if it’s his last day, I ought to go see it! (Scheherazade I was soooort of familiar with, but it takes me to my 3rd grade ballet recital days and I’m not so sure if it’s a memory I’d like to remember…)

I managed to find a ticket in the fourth row, but since I’ve never been to a Symphony show, I’m not sure if I got great or horrible tickets. I snagged a single seat though—probably sandwiched in between couples.

This could totally be my next artist date! I thought. And so I dressed up. (It was the Symphony, after all. Or wait, is it the Opera you have to dress up for? Nonetheless.) Went to dinner. Nothing fancy—I only had an hour so I stepped into the first Japanese restaurant I saw, and yes please, grilled saba (mackerel) and soup!

I obviously don’t drive in SF, because I wasn’t aware that Van Ness had crazy traffic on Saturday nights.

See Christine on the Muni.
See Christine with 10 minutes left.
See Christine sprinting down Van Ness in a dress.

I got my butt in my fourth row seat just as the lights were starting to dim.

And then, an old man in an amazing tailcoat emerges from a hidden door on the wall. He walks slowly. An applause, a smile. He pauses, lifts his hands, and—

Pure magic.

There were no tears from me this time, just an overly giddy smile that I couldn’t seem to wipe off my face. Big psycho smile. All night.

The fun part was watching the members of the orchestra. Some get so into the music that their expressions go from angry to shocked to totally lost in the moment. Some are staring at the notes so intently, the only movement coming from their playing and nothing else. Some actually exchange quick smirks with the violinists across—ha, I wonder what they’re thinking. One is playing with a broken string.

Later, a special guest cellist comes on, and you know she’s a big deal, because she’s wearing a bright red tube dress amidst an all-black suit orchestra, and she plays the badass piece with no reference notes whatsoever.

Brava!!! yells the woman behind me as the cellist bows and the audience gives her a standing ovation.

The main piece comes on and it’s pure magic again, because this time they’ve brought out the percussion. Love.

I look around: everyone’s still listening intently, eyes focused on the conductor. Oh wait—one teenager’s nodding off. Some are moving their heads to the music.

I still have my silly grin on, pleasantly surprised to find one other person with a matching expression: a violinist in the last row. She’s totally into it, and whenever she puts her violin down, you can see that she’s totally soaking it all in. Smiling, looking around. You’d think she were me, seeing her very first Symphony show, totally in awe of all the music and amazingness.

Then again, I can’t blame her. If my face already hurts from all the smiling from the fourth row, imagine the view from her seat.

Zach, Shiloah, Elisa, Adrian and 10 others said thanks.

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Christine Herrin

Designer. History major. Memory keeper, paper hoarder, frequent flyer.

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