Some twenty years ago my sister gave me an album on cassette tape (remember those…or maybe not). She’d heard about the performer, Garrison Keillor, on CBC radio. Mr. Keillor, an American, is well-known as an National Public Radio (NPR) radio performer, an author, a humourist and essayist. The album was “A Young Lutheran’s Guide to the Orchestra” and I listened to it time and time again. I enjoyed the music and the stories that went with the album. This makes me think I should likely buy it again-in a format I can listen to these days.
A Prairie Home Companion
Garrison Keillor is the host of the weekly NPR radio show A Prairie Home Companion (PHC). I often listen to the archived shows. There was a 2006 movie of the same name. The movie was set around a single radio show and used the same set that Keillor and colleagues perform on at each show. The show is quirky and warm and often showcases well-known performers as well as local musical talent (the show is based in Minneapolis but does travel across the U.S. during the year).
Tanglewood, June 30, 2012
We seized an opportunity to see a live performance of the PHC last week in Lenox, Massachusetts. The venue is Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston
The stage is in the “shed” and you can purchase tickets either in the shed or out on the lawn. We learned that to picnic on the lawn before and during the concert is part of the charm of Tanglewood performances. The venue (The Serge Koussevitzky Music Shed and lawn) can accommodate upwards of 20,000.
The day was perfect, June 30th, 2012 as we drove to Tanglewood. It was sunny and very warm, with a little breeze. The concert was great. Keillor said (tongue in cheek) they like to give local talent a chance and so had Arlo Guthrie as one of the guests. You can hear the show on the archives of the PHC website. I was thrilled to be at the concert and enjoyed the evening immensely.
And one of the very best parts of the experience was what happened after the live broadcast (2 hours) signed off. The PHC broadcast starts at 6pm and ends around 8pm. A number of audience members left early, probably thinking getting out of the parking area would be a nightmare. Another number left at the end of the show while many of us stayed and called for an encore. And did we get encores. Pure singing-some folk, some songs from long ago (my Dad would have loved their choices) and some rock and roll. All the band and guest performers (e.g. Arlo Guthrie) came out and the songs went on one after the other. The audience stood and clapped and sang and danced. They walked up the aisles to get closer to the stage soaking up the experience.
After they had played for almost an additional two hours and left the stage for the third time we started toward the car. We weren’t aware of the after show soiree and we hadn’t eaten. It was closing on to 10pm. We were on our way to the parking lot and heard the band start up again!
- If you have a chance, attend a PHC live performance-no matter where it’s being held
- If you go to Tanglewood buy tickets in the Shed
- Arrive early (grounds open at 4 pm for 5:45 pm show)
- Pack a lovely picnic lunch with accompanying beverages. Eat on the lawn and then pack up the bits, take them back to the car and take your seat in the shed.
- Buy tickets for next year…I plan to!
Do you have a concert or live show experience that stands out in your memory? A performance you found so very enjoyable. What were the reasons? Who you attended with, the performer, the venue, the weather…it seems a combination of all of the above for me.