I attended the CMR “Fall Concert” last night. Everything was great – people were happy, the kids singing and playing their instruments, some a bit nervous, some beaming with pride, the parents and sibling and grandparents enjoying the show. But then, for the last number, the conductor explained that the screen needed to be lowered; and on cue, a large white screen dropped from the ceiling to hover above the kids on stage. I was pretty excited – some visuals to go with the music. Maybe some on-screen fireworks, or waterfalls, or something colorful or vivid to accompany the music…?
For a moment, the audience could see on the screen a blank Powerpoint slide, and then someone in the control booth clicked a few icons, and the image of airplanes crashing into the World Trade Center appeared. The conductor then stated that the final musical piece was written as a remembrance of those who died on 9/11. The band started playing, and the screen showed the images of the twin towers ablaze. The slideshow continued, with pictures of 9/11 rotating above the students.
I walked out of the auditorium. Several other people did, too. It was too jarring, and just brought back so many horrible memories. Was I overly sensitive? I don’t know…it just seemed somehow inappropriate, incongruous. The fall concert is supposed to be a pretty happy event, a chance for the kids to show off their skills to family and friends. I don’t think anyone walks into such an event expecting (or wanting) to see images of what is likely one of the most horrible events many of us have ever experienced.
I understand what the musical director was trying to do, and I don’t doubt that he didn’t mean any harm…but I do think that he showed poor judgment. What do you think?