As a member of more than one group that performs on Paradise Green, I wholeheartedly echo Mr. Mark’s comments. Because things got so out of hand last year, the Town of Stratford has resorted to putting up caution tape around the front of the gazebo where the conductor stands. During performances, we see (and hear) throngs of young children chasing each other all over the Green, screaming, and climbing up the walls on the side of the gazebo while music is being played. Many run up and down the steps and come right up to the conductor during the music. At one of the concerts last year, several children were repeatedly told to stay away from a large inflatable movie screen positioned on the Green, which was clearly a danger to them. The parents did nothing.
I encourage parents to bring children to concerts to enjoy the music, dance, clap, and have a fun musical experience. However, there are some who not only ignore their children’s inappropriate behavior; they encourage it. Band members have actually seen parents taking cell phone photos of their children misbehaving!
This isn’t cute. It’s disrespectful. As performers, we find it distracting and infuriating, and we hear continual complaints from audience members who have come out for a relaxing night of music under the stars. Everyone is entitled to that enjoyment.
Before you decide to attend another outdoor concert, put “act like a parent” on your checklist, before “pack the chairs.”
Stratford Community Band
Connecticut Symphonic Winds