Luther College Chips

Respect is a double standard for current and prospective students

Lily Kime, A&E Editor

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As I walked into the Symphony Orchestra concert on Feb. 11 during the intermission, I was excited to hear music that one of my co-workers told me would be amazing. While she was, of course, correct, I did have an unexpected surprise.

This particular concert happened to fall during the beginning of the Dorian Orchestra Festival, so there were more than a few high school students in the audience, specifically in the balcony, where I chose to sit. As I settled in for all four movements of Tchaikovsky’s “Symphony No.5 in E Minor, Op. 64,” I noticed the herds of Dorian students around me were not settling in quite so silently. In fact, with every passing movement of the piece, they got louder and louder. One group even got up and left after the first movement and they made sure not to leave quietly by letting the door swing shut behind them.

What made the experience even more uncomfortable is that Professor of Music Daniel Baldwin knew exactly what was going on without even having to turn around and see it because he waited to cue Symphony to begin the second movement until he heard the door shut. And if that did not make everyone in the balcony cringe enough, the outright disrespect continued.

The talking continually grew louder until it was no longer even an attempt at whispering. Groups of high school students were laughing and chatting audibly while actually enrolled Luther musicians played a gorgeous piece of music.

This may seem like a minor matter to some, but while this was happening, I found myself thinking of a time that Luther students’ actions during a concert were seen as rude.

During a concert this past fall semester, a group of Luther students were sitting in the balcony of the CFL doing homework, as is very usual practice for music majors/minors that need to get those green cards but also read that chapter for homework tomorrow. During a brief intermission in this concert, one member of the music faculty walked over to students who were obviously doing homework and told them that if they were not going to respect the work of their peers by giving their full attention to the concert then they should just leave and do their homework elsewhere. Although this was an unexpected request to bring an end to something that has happens on a regular basis, the member of the music faculty was being entirely reasonable. These student musicians put so much time into what they are doing on that stage. They deserve to be more than background music.

With this in mind, my question is why is doing homework seen as more disrespectful than talking during a concert? Or is it just too much of a risk to ask prospective students to be respectful and shut up for any stretch of time? Are we so desperate to raise enrollment that we will allow prospective students to show blatant disrespect toward students that are already paying to go here?

Students of the fine arts, including music, deserve to be given respect for the hours upon hours of work they put into everything they create. The music department clearly recognizes this, but it gets thrown under the bus any time prospective students are involved. It is time to get rid of the double standard before current students start to transfer to other institutions that show them more respect.

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