No one blinked when an ambulance sped up Market Street, siren wailing, during George Gershwin’s “Cuban Overture.” And the Southwest Airlines jet that went overhead a minute later just added its own bass horn sound to the orchestra for a couple of seconds.


I can’t imagine this didn’t bother any audience members. It might not have bothered Pizarro (does he normally attend classical music concerts, I wonder?) but I’m guessing the musicians either rolled their eyes, laughed, or were just ticked off that they had to play this. (I’ve heard things….)

Would I play there anyway? Sure. I think reaching out to the public is an excellent idea. It’s just also very, very expensive. (And yeah, we’ll whine about it because the sound is rotten and playing outdoors isn’t great for instruments. But whining is part of the biz. So there you go.) Pizarro’s suggesting his city’s little group should do the same is fine; perhaps he can also help with funding! He mentioned that the SF Symphony used amplification … well … yet another added expense. (I’m just betting that those highly paid musicians have to be getting some sort of run out fee, too, since they aren’t playing in their neighborhood.)

Perhaps the Mercury News and the City of San Jose would like to put their heads together and bring the local talent into the public’s eye. (Btw, Chuck Reed came to our first symphony concert; I hadn’t seen a mayor at a symphony concert in a number of years. Thanks, Mr. Reed!) We have symphony, opera, musical theatre, theatre, mariachi, ballet, youth orchestras, taiko, children’s musical theatre … it’s all right here. Wouldn’t it be great if the money in this valley went to these groups, rather than to the folks up the freeway who frequently treat San Jose with disdain? I think so!

(Psst, psst … to the City of San Jose … the list you have of upcoming events … well … those opera and symphony concerts are over. It’s October now! And how about listing all the performing arts groups on that page too? After all, you list all the sports groups. C’mon, you know you can do it! Oh … and your Community Profile doesn’t list a symphony. You might think about changing that. And maybe adding links to the groups, too. If you’d like a bit of help I’m here for you.)

Is this really necessary? “Rival Symphony Orchestras”? I don’t see it that way. Geesh. SFS is a full time, wonderfully paying gig, with absolutely fabulous musicians. We are an extremely part time, good for a bit of extra dough in the pocket group, with some absolutely fabulous musicians. Oh … they do have MTT, though. 😉 (And, btw, the SFS Peter and the Wolf concert is by their youth orchestra. Not to be picky or anything….)


  1. What does it mean to be “bothered”? When you know beforehand that the concert is outdoors in a site where streaming traffic will be rushing by on both sides, you expect it, or you just don’t go.

    When the ambulance came by, I was just wishing they might have been playing An American in Paris instead. Or Pacific 231, or maybe Ionisation.

  2. Good point, David. I’m talking from the performer’s pov. Sometimes I forget that.

    Thanks for the gentle correction.