Thursday, March 11, 2010

Bagpipes or Bigfoot?

It was a huge deal for us in this part of the state when the university in Springfield decided to put a satellite campus in West Plains. The campus grew.... and grew... and eventually a Civic Center was constructed to provide a venue for the basketball team and also for University-sponsored performing arts through the Missouri Arts Council and other organizers. And the University began bringing performers of all kinds – Japanese drummers, Native American dancers, blues bands, guitarists, opera singers, Mark Twain... and it has been very good. Very good indeed.

In honor of St Patrick’s Day, the university scheduled a performance of the Tullintrain West Pipes & Drums group in the performing arts theater for tomorrow. How cool! Me and the kid are going.

A few days later the newspaper mentions that at the same time the Civic Center Board scheduled the Thunder Slam Monster Truck event in the arena.

So at the same time the bagpipes will be piping and the drums would be tattooing in the performance arts theater, monster trucks would be crushing cars and hurling themselves through the air next door.

The University was not exactly happy – the roar of monster trucks would certainly be heard in the theater – so the start time of the bagpipe group was moved forward an hour. If we were so inclined, we could easily watch and listen to the bagpipes and drums and then wander next door and watch monster trucks.

Having just immersed myself in several books’ worth of the mental meanderings of Andrew McCall Smith’s heroine Isabel Dalhousie, I found myself thinking about the value of bagpipes vs monster trucks and why one sort of entertainment would be far superior to the other, and the sort of people who would attend the bagpipe performance (cultured, sophisticated, upper-class types) would thus be far superior than those who would fill the arena to watch monster trucks crush cars (rednecks).

And then I had to sit myself down and give myself a good talking to. How dare I! What cultural snobbery!! The fact that watching monster trucks crush cars is about the last thing in the world I would want to do doesn’t make another person’s enjoyment of this spectacle any less valid. Get over yourself, woman!

Ratta tat tat...


Oklahoma Granny said...

I love the sound of bagpipes. There used to be a funeral director in our town that played the bagpipes. He told me once that he would often go to the lake in the summertime, get in a large inner tube float out onto the lake and practice. Somehow that just sounded so peaceful to me.

I have to admit though, I do enjoy watching monster trucks too.

You are very lucky to have a venue that can support entertainment of all kinds.

Paula said...

Good entry. We all need to stop and think about our snobbery. This can apply even to an old country girl like me.

Kevin said...

Hello! I'm the band director of Tullintrain West. We had a great time performing and meeting everyone. What a great town and great concert venue.

We could here the monster trucks through the last part of the second half of our show, but it was fairly intermittent and not as loud as I thought it would be. In fact, I made a joke about it to the crowd and got a laugh.

Anyway, we loved West Plains and thought the civic center was very nice. Hope to see you all again!