Merdle: Hey honey! I heard the Cleveland Orchestra won't be wearing tuxedos, but solid-colored shirts instead. No ties!
Haggard: Ooh! That makes them more appealing. Maybe we should go.
Then, there’s this:
It’s hard to pinpoint what about the Cleveland Orchestra’s concert Friday caused it to sell out, given that almost everything about it was different.
I suppose I should have italicized “almost everything,” but why italicize when you can give a picture in its place?
For one experiment, there were a lot of variables.
Which means: there was another experiment without any variables. In other words, there was a control, i.e., a solid base of knowledge with which to compare and contrast the effect of the variables. Though, you’d want to limit them to, oh I don’t know, one variable, in order to isolate the results. But, hey, that’s good science and we don’t want that in our music, do we?
Anyway, let’s follow this hypothetical experiment.
Was it the earlier start?
Nope. You disproved that one, remember?
Many [...] lingered, purchasing drinks and mingling at club-like tables and lounges around the dimly-lit foyer.
Sounds like they had plenty of time on their hands. That couldn’t be it.
The informal dress of the players?
Hmmm. See above Merdle and Haggard sarcasm.
[Was] it the prospect of a post-concert reception and appearance by world percussion ensemble Beat the Donkey?
But, as our author later showed, this was indeed a legitimate possibility.
At first, the post-concert party looked ready to backfire. Most of Severance Hall came flooding into the Grand Foyer, forcing patrons to jockey for limited space.
I’ll definitely keep that one in mind when trying to decipher our experimental data. I should have italicized “experimental.”
The short [...] program?
People clamoring for the donkey beaters, drinking themselves into stupors, uncomfortably standing in a dimly-lit foyer...
Yeah. A short program could attract patrons. Though, their priorities don’t seem to be in line with the act of attending an orchestra concert—listening to music. How ‘bout that, then? What about the music?
The control group:
The [...] all-Beethoven program?
So, to ask the question again: what packed the house that evening? Oh yeah, the one thing that symphonies resort to when they need to pack a house.
Haggard: I also heard they were going to play nothing but Beethoven.
Merdle: I heard that too. Last week, in fact. And the week before that. And the week before that.
Haggard: These things sound like a broken Glass record.