By Robert D. Thomas
Pasadena Star-News/San Gabriel Valley Tribune/Whittier Daily
Usually about this time of the year people ask me what gifts
they should get for their classical music-loving friends. While there are
plenty of books and recordings that are available, my No. 1 suggestion each
year is the gift of music through tickets. There are three reasons for this
First, nearly all of us have no need for more “stuff,” no
matter how important those books, recordings, ties, shirts or other things
might be. That doesn’t mean that if someone gives me an iPad for Christmas this
year I’ll turn it down, but my world really won’t come to an end if I don’t
Second, nearly all of us need to put more music into our
lives. I don’t mean the music itself, important as that is. Rather, I mean the
sheer pleasure of attending a concert (opera, recital, play, etc.) in person.
Attending creates a three-hour (or more) break in a busy schedule,; it’s a
chance to sit back and just absorb sheer beauty and revel in the experience of
simply being without staring at a
computer screen, answering a phone or meeting for some reason. Despite the fact
that I retired from my professional career three years ago, my days seem to be
as busy as they ever were. Attending concerts offers me a much-need respite
from that whirlwind.
That’s one reason I love the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s 11
a.m. Friday morning concerts — they’re a break in my daily routine. Years ago,
I felt like the orchestra sometimes didn’t play as well for these concerts as
for evening programs but that seems to have changed. Another advantage is that
it’s easier to take the Metro to morning/afternoon concerts than it is to
evening events. For me, it’s Red Line to Pershing Square station, Angels Flight
up the hill, and a pleasant stroll on a sun-swept day across the Watercourt
Plaza, past MOCA and Colburn and into Disney Hall. We don’t stroll enough in
our busy lives.
My third reason for giving tickets is that all arts
organizations need our support. Even though ticket sales don’t cover all the
costs, ticket revenue is a significant part of every group’s income stream.
Moreover, as a performer I know that playing before a full house (or at least
fuller) is a lot more fun and stimulating than looking out and seeing empty
So give the gift of tickets this year. One of the nice parts
of this idea is that tickets come in all price ranges, from free on up.
However, please remember that if you’re going to give a gift to a free concert
— and there are excellent no-admission concerts nearly ever week, as my weekly
“Five Spot” posts inform you — no concert is truly free; there are always costs
involved, so donations of any size are always welcome and encouraged by
How do you give tickets? One way is to decide on a program
ahead of time, buy the tickets and give them. Another is giving the cash value
of the tickets with a note as to the reason for the monetary gift. The L.A.
Phil even offers a gift card (LINK), if that’s more preferable to cold cash.
Oh, and by the way, give yourself tickets this year, as
Merry Christmas to you all! Thanks for being loyal readers.
(c) Copyright 2011, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved.
Portions may be quoted with attribution.