As a patron of the arts and a founder of the Orange County Performing Arts Center, I am quite frankly appalled by the lack of class and understanding of theater and concert protocol displayed by my fellow audience participants.
Several months ago, Orange County had the opportunity of hearing Henry Mancini perform with the Pacific Symphony at the Center. Upon conclusion of the performance, the audience gave Mr. Mancini what I would call a polite round of applause.
On another recent occasion, during the Big Band Salute to Tommy Dorsey, with a stellar performance by no less a legend than Frankie Laine, the Center audience had to be all but coaxed to their feet by the few of us who were willing to show our respect for the nearly half-century of musical contribution by Mr. Laine. This, after the very same audience had given an enthusiastic standing ovation to a lesser performer on the same bill.
Come on now, fellow theater-goers. We've built a hall that performers love; they all stand on its stage and tell us so. They are the best of the best; they have earned honor and respect from the musical community, and we snub them with our pseudo-sophisticated formality. Are we so "above it all" that these superstars have to feel they are auditioning for our approval? Can't we give a standing ovation to those who have truly earned it?
Remember folks, there are only two reasons for a standing ovation--either a performance of exceptional merit, or the recognition of a lifetime of achievement. Certainly we can't be so blind as to not recognize one or the other.