The Red Sox Festival Chorus? (Also, Where’s the Organ?!)

So I went to my first Red Sox game tonight. Yes, it’s true — McDoc and I have been in Boston for 10 days short of a year now, but hadn’t gone to a game yet! What can I say? We’re music nerds, not sports nerds!

redsoxBut I enjoy going to a baseball game now and then, so when friends of ours invited us to take advantage of some complimentary tickets they got through work, we were delighted to accept. After all, it’s really an excuse to drink beer, eat hot dogs (or in my case, French fries), and shoot the breeze while some dudes play a game in the background. πŸ˜‰

As you might expect, I was curious about the musical angle to the whole thing. A variety of hard-rocking tunes came over the sound system in snippets throughout the game; McDoc recognized “Stranglehold,” by Ted Nugent (which I definitely could not have identified!) and there was something that sounded like it was about to be a Johnny Cash tune, but that cut out before any identifying vocals came in. I don’t think each batter had his own theme music — but then I was too busy carousing with my friends to pay very close attention!

I’m not sure if Fenway still has an organist, but there didn’t seem to be one on duty tonight. Near as I can tell, the ballpark organist is an endangered species, but support from the fans keeps them from being phased out entirely — keep those letters coming, folks! πŸ˜€ At least that’s what I learned from this article about Nancy Bea Hefley, organist for Dodger Stadium… but the article is several years old, so I wonder what the situation is now?

Anyway, what made the biggest impression on me was watching the fans stand and sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” During a time when music-making by regular folks at public gatherings is severely on the wane — when was the last time you heard a group of people, who weren’t choir members or anything, sing something together on purpose that wasn’t “Happy Birthday”? — it was nice to see people singing with such gusto. It’s not the easiest song in the world, either, though its familiarity helps, of course. But it was the commitment that got me; it was on a level that many choral conductors only dream of, minus the beer-soaked out-of-tuneness, of course!

Oh, and I can’t fail to mention McDoc’s favorite part: “Ba ba baaa!!!” πŸ˜‰

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2 Responses

  1. Linda, I went to Sox games when the bleachers were still benches and sold for 50 cents a seat, so you know how far back I go with Fenway!

    The great John Kiley used to play organ for both the Sox and the Bruins, but not many know that he was also church organist for St. Anne’s parish in my home town of Somerville. The joke was that when he played for weddings he’d use that ascending chromatic march he used in tense moments at-bat or for face-offs (DUNH-dunh-dunh-dunh, DUNH-dunh-dunh-dunh, DUNH-dunh-dunh-dunh) for the processional, ending with his trademark “dunt-dunt-de-DUNT de-Daaaaa!” when the bride finally reached the altar.

    Good times, good times.

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