The Lights Are Much Brighter There

Five or ten years ago, it would not have been a big deal to schedule a Knoxville Ice Bears hockey game and a Knoxville Symphony Orchestra concert on the same night. I remember one winter night a few years ago when I walked into the Civic Auditorium to see the Symphony. My wife was already inside, waiting to sing with the Knoxville Choral Society. The ticket-taker looked at me and said, “the hockey game is next door.”

It’s time to re-think the scheduling now that the Ice Bears and the Symphony have grown in popularity. In fact, the Ice Bears have had several sold-out games lately. The Symphony had a sold-out performance of the Clayton Holiday Concert in December.

My wife and I went to the Symphony’s “Dancing and Romancing” concert last night. Before the show, we went to dinner at Chesapeake’s, which was packed. We saw three other couples we knew. Two couples were also going to the Symphony. The other couple was going to the Clarence Brown Theatre. The crowd at the restaurant was a foreshadow of what was to come.

A hockey game started at 7:30 in the Civic Coliseum. The almost-sold-out concert was supposed to start at 8:00 in the Civic Auditorium. We left the restaurant early enough, which was fortunate. It took us almost half-an-hour to move our car the one mile from the restaurant to the Coliseum and Auditorium’s parking garage. The Tennessee Theatre and the Bijou also hosted concerts last night.

When we got to our seats, I responded to a tweet from publicist Cynthia Moxley announcing that the show would start late due to traffic.

The concert was terrific. I loved hearing the symphony play “Sing Sing Sing.” The highlight of the night was a singing and dancing performance of “Singin’ in the Rain” by Kirby Ward. He mentioned that it was his first trip to Knoxville. Singer Debbie Gravitte said it was her second visit. My wife and I remembered seeing her perform in 2011. Ward’s dance partner Joan Hess said she didn’t know if she had been to Knoxville before.

I read on Twitter that the hockey game was sold out and that the were having dachshund races during intermission.

The concert’s late start meant that the show ended around 10:10 p.m., just as the hockey game was starting to let out. The symphony crowd was in a good mood crossing Mary Costa Plaza while the hockey fans were disappointed that their team lost.

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