Paul Serotsky's comment about the communal experience is an important one. However, there is a downside to that too: the increasingly inconsiderate behaviour of audience members nowadays. I vividly recall that prior to attending my first concert, as a small boy, I was given a firm instruction: 'don't make a sound during the music.' That injunction has stuck with me ever since but, alas, nowadays audience members seem to think nothing of fidgeting, even whispering to their companions while the music is playing. And why is it that people choose the quietest moments to cough? Not for nothing has my Seen and Heard colleague, Mark Berry christened such people the Bronchial Terrorists. Perhaps people forget they aren't watching/listening in their own living rooms? Such behaviour by a minority, I'm afraid, does tend to compromise the communal experience.
There is, in my experience, one honourable exception: by and large, audiences at Three Choirs Festival concerts are unusually quiet and attentive. I wonder why that should be?
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