School Band Bans Babies

Saturday I attended the Junior High School Honor Band Concert in Elk Grove. This band is a one-time performance of students from a variety of schools in several northern California counties. Children from as far as Redding and Lake Tahoe enter the competition.

The children practiced as a group for the first time the day before the event. After practicing for one and a half days, they put on a concert for parents where the students do their four songs and then go home.

My wife, children and their grandparents arrived Saturday afternoon for the concert. The 6th grade band was just finishing and when they were done we entered the concert hall. The theater was stuffy and very uncomfortable. It was oppressive for adults to be in let alone a lot of children. The ventilation was shut-off and the humidity in the place was very high. It was a full house.

We found seats and waited for the concert to begin. During this time, I went outside with the baby and entered just as the first song began.

After the children started their second song, the conductor stopped the performance and dismissed all the babies in the crowd. He waited until a couple of embarrassed moms walked out with their babies and then resumed the concert. The moms with the babies were there to see their older children play in this band. This was not some fifty dollar a ticket affair at the Mondavi Center, it was a free event to allow children to show-off for their parents. To stop the event and kick parents out of the event was rude and unprofessional.

At this point, I left with our baby and went outside. (He was fine until the performance was stopped.) I tried to reenter the building several times but after about 30 seconds inside the building, I began hacking and coughing up stuff from my lungs and had to leave. It was unbearable inside the building.

I think the conductor should have kept his opinions on babies to himself. If he wanted to make a constructive comment during this event then he should get the event organizers to turn on the ventilation in the concert hall and quit picking on a bunch of little children.

The conductor is nuts if he thinks that his concert with one day of practice is so sacrosanct that small children must be banned from his presence. He should remain cloistered in whatever college he came from and quit interacting with the real world where small children have as much right to be seen in public as their older siblings.