In box office parlance, “tenth row center” is the location of the best seats in the house. From there, you can see and hear everything on the stage. It’s not too far, not too close. It’s just right. When I worked in the box office at Wolf Trap Farm Park for the Performing Arts, I learned that some people prefer to sit slightly left of center. We called that the “keyboard side” because those seats give a better view of the pianist’s fingers.
In May, my wife bid on a few items in the silent auction at the All Saints Parish Adult Social. In past years, she has tried to buy movie tickets or restaurant gift cards. This year, she was the winning bidder for a pair of Knoxville Symphony Orchestra season tickets for the Moxley-Carmichael Masterworks Series. At the time, she received a voucher and instructions because the tickets had not yet gone on sale.
The process of redeeming the voucher was similar to ordering tickets by phone. She called the box office with her information and mailed them the voucher as her payment. Her ticket order went in the stack with everyone else’s, to be filled when the tickets were ready to be printed. She placed the order early enough that we were assigned great seats for the season. In fact, we got tenth row, center!
On Thursday night, the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra opened their season at the Tennessee Theatre. It was the first performance in the Maestro Lucas Richman’s final season as music director. The program included two pieces before intermission and Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 1 after intermission.
Guest soloist Jon Kimura Parker did an outstanding job with the Brahms’ opus. From my vantage point, I enjoyed seeing the intense concentration on his face and his love of the music. At the start of the show, Lucas Richman said that he and “Jackie” had worked on a project in Los Angeles. After the concerto, Parker said that Lucas dared him to play a certain composition as a brief encore. Parker announced that it was by American composer Danny Elfman just before launching into a beautiful rendition of the theme from The Simpsons.
When the Tennessee Theatre re-opened in 2005 after a massive restoration project, those who donated at a certain level could have their name placed on a brass marker on the armrest of one of the seats. As my wife and I settled in to the seats we will occupy for the 2014-2015 season, I recognized the name on the armrest between us. Julia and Bob Schriver are the parents of our good friend Fr. Ragan Schriver. We’ve got to know the Schriver family over the years. This past December, we mourned the death of Bob. I can hardly wait to tell Ragan that we found his parents’ names are on the best seats in the house.