One of my favorite sensations of concert attendance, especially when watching an orchestra, is the pre-concert warmup. There is a unique aural sensation only found when sitting in an audience and listening to the mixture of the different instruments as they go about their pre-concert routines. Some of them are warming up with scales, some are playing passages from the night's repertoire, and some are simply playing whatever they feel like (that's usually what I do). And, mingled with that quasi-tonal cacophony is the undercurrent of conversation from all of the concert goers. The sound is musical, in its own way.
Then there is the moment when the concert is about to begin and the room is hushed, the lights dim and a calm and stillness settles over the crowd. I love all of this, and years ago I likened the experience to that of going to church. Not only is there something reverential about the setting, but the routine of it is comforting and satisfying.
The end of the concert, too, has it's own routine. People stand, they clap, they cheer (bravo!) and, in general, they show their appreciation to the many people that devoted their time and talents for our pleasure. This is proper and fitting. The musicians expend a great deal of effort in their performance and the audience expends an equal amount of effort in showing their thanks.
Yet, this past Thursday, I saw that there are quite a few people that do not see it that way. They cannot be bothered to applaud, and they made a beeline directly for the exits as soon as the music stopped. Let me clarify--I'm not talking about a few people, but a LOT. What drives them to be so disrespectful? Are they are more concerned with getting to the parking lot to avoid traffic? Are they are more concerned with getting home than with showing their appreciation for what has been accomplished for their pleasure? I guess there is something extremely consumeristic about this; they have paid for a service and once the service is received they feel no obligation to do anything further.
I can see this issue from many angles, but I'm interested in what others have to say. What are your thoughts on concert etiquette? Is it old-fashioned beyond use? Why is it different for other kinds of music & media? Am I unfairly judging these people?