Over 2,400 patrons were awed this past Sunday as the Eugene Symphony accompanied a number of dazzling acts in the production of Cirque de la Symphonie. The rich combination of aesthetic beauty interwoven with musical compositions held attendees in a trance for the few hours of the performance and probably for some time after. Usual symphony rules flew out the door as children and adults alike burst into applause with each of the performers many demonstrations of strength, grace, and artistry.
While the performance itself was nothing less than mesmerizing, the dynamic of the crowd provided interest and entertainment for anyone paying attention. As the crowds moved from the orchestra to the upper balcony, suits, ties and high heels were slowly replaced by jeans, collard shirts, and flat soled shoes. Seasoned veterans of the symphony might tell you that the sound resonates more fully in the higher seats, but ask most of the attendants and they will give you the simple truth that the seats are cheaper. Charlotte Smith, a 22 year old recent graduate of the University of Oregon bought the tickets for her and her boyfriend as a birthday present. When asked about the performance she gaped and said “Oh, I loved it.” She made it clear that normally the two of them did not spend much money going out to dinner or getting drinks but that “it was worth it to see such an amazing demonstration…and I wanted to treat my boyfriend to something special.”
Listening to the crowd file out after the show with nothing but praises, it seemed that Charlotte’s general sentiments were echoed in their conversations. People recognize that even when money is a little tight, it really is worth it to pinch some pennies here and there to do something special by being immersed in a performance. Not just because it is entertaining or out of the ordinary, but because art is inspiring and on some level that we might not even recognize, art actually is good for us.