A Truck Driver’s Gear Change at the All-State Music Festival

Yesterday I went to the Vermont All-State Music Festival, which is where the best highschool musicians in the state all get together and play songs. I watched the Band, the Orchestra, and the Choir, which is everyone who was performing that day (Jazz Band was Friday).

The location wasn’t all that great. It was a high school gym that was rather small to begin with, and when you take out stage space, a lot of people had to fit into a very small area. The floor was filled with chairs, and the bleachers (one side, plus second floor, plus small on the other side) were full, and they weren’t even facing the right way. There was a very tight bottleneck to get in and out. There were only two bathrooms, both rather small, and both always full of performers changing (at least between performances) since the small stage meant only one group could be out at a time and the others couldn’t stay in their seats to listen.

Perhaps I’m just comparing that to last year, though, which is the only other one I’ve been to. My town hosted that one, and it was held in various nice places around the town with the band, orchestra, and choir held in a hockey rink that randomly happened, by the word of one of the conductors who had conducted there, to have as good acoustics as Carnagie Hall. (As well as, of course, a lot more room, which is good since we’re in the middle of the state and so drew a lot more people.)

I sat, as last year, in the very front center. This was good seating, except that the people next to me were being consistently loud enough to distract me. Turning program pages, digital cameras that go “click” (seriously, people! Turn it off at a concert!), even talking. Even more annoyingly, it was a friend’s parents who were doing that. I talked to them between band and orchestra, though, and they stopped.

Throughout the entirety of the orchestra, I had to pee. (Not my fault, see lack of bathrooms above.)

Band and orchestra were on one ticket, choir was on another (since some parents, apparently, only want to see the one their kid’s in…). I left my coat on the chair, and went out to go to the bathroom and talk to people. The doors were still closed when I came back, and the line was huge, so I managed to sneak my way into the middle (no moral problem for me, since I already have my seat, it’s not like I’m getting a better one by cutting). And I waited until they opened the doors, and went back to my seat… and it was taken. Apparently, it had suddenly become a reserved seat between band and choir. Way to not inform me ahead of time. And by that point there weren’t any good ones left, so I went up to the balcony to sit with some friends.

Now, music.

Last year, the band was very good, the orchestra was good and the choir was amazi