One for the storybook

One for the storybook

I know stuff like this has been discussed in the past, and I’m not even looking to start a discussion or anything. Don’t try to read into my intentions, because I don’t have any other than just to share an interesting question that was asked to me tonight. Ok, now that the disclaimer is out of the way, here’s the vignette.

I was at an ITM concert, and it was being held at a church. At intermission I was talking with a friend of mine, and an older lady (likely a churchgoer who didn’t know the first thing about Irish music) came up to me and politely asked if I could stop tapping my foot because it was shaking her pew (or something silly like that). I politely told her that if she didn’t want to hear foot tapping, then she was at the wrong concert.

I’m sure most people have had similar situations, but it was a first for me, and I felt obligated to share it here.

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Just curious but, where was this concert you went to?

Funny story you have there.. Speaking of which, there SHOULD be a book of stories like these!

Cheers,
Armand

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Concert was at a church ‘bout 45 minutes outside of Philadelphia. Very subdued concert from the audience. I suspect many of the people were leaning more towards the church side of things and less towards the ITM side of things.

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The lady was too polite to say you tapping was out of time.

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I may be being a bit too analytical here but I definately think the venue for a gig affects the audience and maybe the perfomer- a church venue would make me less likely to feel it "appropriate" to really give it some jip and I suppose thats a cultural thing.

A gig in an inappropriate venue can just spoil the whole thing.

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I’m not sure I agree with that. I have played tunes in multifarious venues and it’s the chemistry between musician and audience that matters rather than the venue IMHO.

One of the most memorable gigs I ever did was in the old St Kevin’s Parish Hall in Donegall St in Belfast. A very intimate little audience of about 70 and the craic was mighty!

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Breandan, I wonder if there’s a difference between a church concert in Ireland and church concert in the U.S. Wouldn’t most of the churchgoers in Ireland already be familiar with the music and the foot tapping that inevitably goes along with it?

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I never saw audience members in Ireland tapping their feet. At least, not in such a way that it was audible to their neighbours or the performers. I strongly feel the tapping / clapping audience member is a North American phenomenon.

I find tapping / clapping irritating, personally. I’m not a snob at all, but when I’ve paid my money and made a point of seeing a particular musician whose playing I adore, I want to hear the music - not the thumping and clapping of the people sitting next to me.

Sometimes if I’m really into it I’ll keep time on my knee with my index finger, or allow my heart to beat to the rhythm, but I’ve never felt I would be adding to the music or the atmosphere by stomping my foot or clapping my hands. I only do this when the people on stage ask for it.

Jason, how would you have felt if the person next to you was making noises you found distracting or irritating? The lady had a lot of courage to express her feelings to you, I think, and I find it surprising you would assume she was "likely a churchgoer who didn’t know a thing about Irish music" instead of a person with a passionate love of music who didn’t want her enjoyment of it ruined by having her seat jostled with every thump of your foot.

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Dear Kerri Brown.

If you never saw tapping the foot to ITM in Ireland,I don’t know what part in of Ireland you where. I am from Ireland and listening to ITM for 50 years and I always tap my foot. I think you there in all the wrong places.Tapping your foot for the musician is in part for tempo and is part of the enjoyment of the music.Are you sure it was not Classical music you heard.
Thank you.

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Classical music? My cue, I think.
Some time ago the orchestra I was in was rehearsing one of those long complicated slow movements where it’s only too easy to lose the plot if you don’t concentrate. So, as is quite common on such occasions, many of us were (noiselessly) tapping our feet.
Suddenly, without warning, a voice somewhere behind me bellowed "Feet!". We stopped in our tracks and the conductor asked what was the matter. The elderly and irascible double bassist responsible for the outburst said "It’s all your damned feet tapping away. It’s bloody distracting!" (BTW, the foot-tappers included the conductor, the leader and almost everyone else, and Double Bass wasn’t exactly renowned for the accuracy of his time-keeping). Someone explained kindly that if he kept his eyes on his music and the conductor’s baton he wouldn’t have a problem.
Double Bass was quite huffy about it for weeks after but everyone else thought it hilarious. He retired from the orchestra at the end of the year.
Trevor

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Even if foot tapping is perfectly natural for you, it could be a bother to someone else. I think if I had been in that situation I would have been more polite to the old lady. Sure maybe cussing is natural for me, but there are situations where I have to not cuss because it makes others feel uncomfterable. I know thats a bad analogy, but my point is sometimes we have to flexible in our habits even if they are normal in the given situation. Its a respect thing really. You’d want the same from anyone else.

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Dear Anonymous Banjo Player from the US;

If you pay a bit closer attention to what I wrote, you’ll notice I am talking about the *audience*, not the musicians.

The issue is on my mind because i was at a great concert last night where the music was drowned out by the clapping of the enthusiastic audience for a good ten minutes of the show, and I found it annoying. They were wacky, crooked Quebecois tunes for the most part, with brilliant little twists and turns, arranged meticulously for maximum gorgeousness by the best musicians in town, with little stops and breaths that didn’t fall on the beats the audience had decided to clap on. On top of that the fiddler was madly tapping both of his feet in an intricate, perfect rhythm and due to the clapping his efforts were wasted.

I was sitting next to the parents of one of the guys in the band, who had every right to be the noisiest, most enthusiastic audience members in the house, and they did not join in the clapping / thumping. So all I’m saying is maybe not *everybody* thinks making noise in the audience at a trad concert is par for the course.

The disclaimer I meant to add to my last comment was that all 4 of the concerts I went to were in the same concert hall on Inis Oirr, and that I do realize the residents of Inis Oirr are not an accurate sampling of the entire population of Ireland.

Anyway, there is also a secondary reason ladies hate to have their pews jogged - it jiggles our fleshy bits in an embarassing way.

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Ok, just to reiterate what my initial post said. It was foot "tapping", NOT foot "thumping". I don’t even know if the lady said anything about the pew shaking b/c I honestly stopped paying attention after she asked me to stop tapping my foot. Nothing to do with manners or anything. It was just a silly request that I wasn’t in the mood to entertain. Also, I have a sense of rhythm and was tapping in time with the musicians on stage. There was also a gentle pulse coming from the tapping of feet of the ITM enthusiasts in the audience. This matched that of the musicians on stage. I am also fully aware of concert ettiquette and would be the last person to do anything that could possibly even annoy anybody around me. The lady (in addition to most of the people at the concert) was exactly what I thought she was. If she was anything else than a churchgoer who happened to see a flyer posted about the concert, then I would have been happy to engage her in a conversation about something ITM related.

Like I said in my original post. Nothing to read in to. It was what it was. A bizarre question. ‘Nuff said.

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Yeah, whats all that about foot thumping/stomping and hand clapping? If I’m enjoying a concert I tap my feet, but believe me, no one would hear it. Anyhow - Its a good sign to see people tapping along (quietly obviously. Its not something I wouldve thought that you’d have to point out and its not like I go to concerts wearing tap shoes) The only times I dont tap are when I’m bored or am not enjoying the concert or tunes. Having said that it depends on the atmosphere and how loud you are being and if its a really intimate church gig then maybe the tapping was echoing or something.
I can see kerri, why you would have such a strong reaction if you had just been to a gig where the audience was clapping along at a concert. That would drive me insane and to be honest it doesnt happen that often here (thank god).

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Well, Jason, I’m please that you’ve finally met my mother…but she told me it went down a bit more like this:

"Young man, I just love the way that you tap your foot!" said my mother.
"Shut up, yeh ol’ hoor!" said you, a bit heavy from the drink, as you’re known to be.
She grabbed your shirt and slapped you good. You cried and ran out the emergency exit, but she gave chase, catching you in the alley, where she beat you senseless until the resident clergy—who were returning from the local—separated you both. They all took turns laughing at you, as your weak blood flowed into the gutter, until they became bored and retired to the rectory for a wee nip, and perhaps a bit more…

All because YOU let the music take hold of you and dared to enjoy it. Let this be a lesson to everyone: don’t enjoy anything! You’re bound to offend someone. Just take your valium and sit quietly until you’re dead.

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Well, Jason, I just assumed that if whatever you were doing was annoying to the person sitting next to you, it must have been both audible and distracting, at least to her.

Personally, I’d LOVE to sit down with an ignorant churchgoer talk about ITM. No sense preaching to the choir.

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Kicked pews! I like it. I’ve played in pub where the floor vibrate everytime the dishwasher is doing its cycle. I was puzzled at first as if felt as if a tube train was going beneath the floorboards. We tap our feet as well.
I’ve also seen some serious foot-tapping in sessions which caused drinks to slide of the table and splash on whoever is at the lower end of the table. When it was my turn, I then spent 10 minutes holding my leg up underneath the hand drier in the ladies. All the same, no foot tapping at all seems strange to me.

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Burst bubbles!!!

Last night, after many too many exasperating moments with our 3 year old, I found a rat in our garage. After whining to myself about the incessant, unplanned, unwanted stresses of life, I had to back off and realize how thankful I really am that there have been no tsunamis, terrorists or other major catastrophes in our neighborhood recently. I mean, really, if the biggest stressors in my life are the one evening’s stresses from a toddler whom I love to tears, and a rodent in the garage, I don’t have much room to complain.

foot tapping, huh……….

So both of your bubbles were burst. Personally, I would have apologized and then probably either stopped or moved. Given the venue described, I believe that would have been the most appropriate thing to do. The venue was one where people were quitely listening, not a bar or a ceili dance, where constant noise & motion from all sides are the norm. I know how much I loathe sitting in a restaurant booth with someone on the other side who is constantly bumping the shared booth backside.

It seems like a simple fix to just move, coz then you can both go back to enjoying being in your own bubbles. And I would have offered to move both because she was older than me, and because she is a woman and I am not - and those are the manners I was raised with and still find to be right.

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🙂

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You’re a gentleman ceciltguitar

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Kerri, you sound like some people around here who are culturally forbidden to audibly enjoy themselves!! Concerts can be dead quiet. You would never know that people are actually enjoying the music!

I don’t enjoy the clapping with the music, because the audience can get way out of time with the band, but light tapping of feet and a few whoops and hup yea boyas only add to the music, in my opinion. I think a band likes to know that there audience is awake and into the music.

In reaction to Jason’s story, I probably would have got up and moved. I once heard Arcady in a church here, and Niamh Parsons was singing. It was astoundingly beautiful. The tunes suffered however from too much echo. But the singing!!!

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I have heard about anti percussion ITM people, but anti toe tapping sounds too extreme. How about as long as you are not tapping your toes on a bodhran? 😉

Yes, Niamh Parsons and Arcady. I have been wondering where they are now. I enjoyed their two albums. Best Wishes.

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It’s noisy, irritating toe tapping I’m talking about. Discreet toe tapping, head bobbing, and knee patting are all totally acceptable. Like I said, I am only assuming Jason’s toe tappery was of the irritating sort because he’s telling us in no uncertain terms that the lady sitting next to him was irritated.

Look, I’m not an anal retentive person by any stretch of the imagination. I’m just suggesting there might be an alternative perspective on this story that doesn’t portray Jason’s irritated neighbour as a grouchy, rude old hag with no appreciation of music. If we’re not interested in at least CONSIDERING the possibility, what is this conversation about?

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Mea culpa, I just went back to the beginning and realized there wasn’t even supposed to *be* a conversation. Sorry for intruding. (*blush*).

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Wait a minute, are we posting in someone’s member profile again?

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I’m not sure. I think we’re supposed to be sharing stories of how obnoxious and clueless little old ladies who go to church can be.

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Yeeeeeeeeeeeow!

A bat just flew in my window and bit me on the neck! It laughed as it flew away!

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Oh, and here’s me complimenting Parsons…not my usual line.

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grymater. Seriously. Check into the necessity for rabies shots - there’s been bat-bite related victims in the Philly / NJ areas.

And the shots are nowhere near as uncomfortable as they used to be.

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I got on the wrong side of an angry old hen once and my whole leg turned pink and swollen from the wound.

The shot was EXTREMELY uncomfortable.

(Actually, that might have been a rooster - I’m no farm girl.)

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grymater. Doctor. Now.

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What the hell would you know, grego! Deserter! I’m not taking medical advice from someone who listens to Tangerine Dream.

I thought it was Jason G who got on the wrong side of an angry old hen, Kerri…did this happen to you while in church by chance?

Mondays suck.

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Me, I know nothing. The CDC, on the other hand…

" Most of the recent human rabies cases in the United States have been caused by rabies virus from bats. "

"A few people die of rabies each year in the United States, usually because they do not recognize the risk of rabies from the bite of a wild animal and do not seek medical advice."

" any bat that is active by day … is far more likely than others to be rabid."

See the link:
http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/rabies/bats_&_rabies/bats&.htm

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Grrrrrrrrrr—BarkBarkBark—woof!

What’s a "real job" anyway?

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I think I might have one. I would prefer to go back to my unreal jobs. Any of them.

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I guess conversation is inevitable around here. I probably had it coming even if I didn’t ask for it. Points above well taken. Grymater, I was a little wierded by your initial post until I realized who it was. *Sigh of relief*. Anywho…

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I was a little concerned about tetanus last week. If only I’d realised that I could come here for advice…

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Hmmm…usually it goes in the reverse, Jason; people are usually wierded when they find out that it’s me.

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I’m not weirded out in the least. As long as that bat wasn’t a *vampire* bat.

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I’m adding this post to an old thread because the title is just too perfect. I hope those of you who check the Comments page will enjoy the clip—it certainly was one for the storybook.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_HmOgrSUvQ


(And before you all start blathering on about Celtic Woman and "Riverdance on Ice"—this was a benefit performance for pediatric brain cancer. I was willing to make the sacrifice, for a good cause… tee hee.)

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oops—cancer *research* of course….