Sacred Harp on BBC
An extended flashback: When we removed to the Valleys of the Mountains at the start of the Year of Our Lord 2003, one of the deprivations we felt most acutely was the music we’d enjoyed in the Boston Area. From the earliest days of our connections there, even when we couldn’t afford to indulge ourselves with much more than food and lodging, we still gave good music top priority.

During our honeymoon days in the poverty of the Sieve and Crockery Jar, we had a hundred dollars a month to live on, saved mostly from my between-semesters labors at Slover Mountain. Rent was providentially free, thanks to Miss Krauss. Valerie’s always been a treasure of frugality, and so our groceries absorbed only half our budget. The other half went for concert tickets, and for fifty bucks each month we got to some wonderful performances.

Having taken overloads in my pre-mission studies, I was blessed with a light senior-year course-load, to the point that I was able to arrange Fridays free of classes. So, we’d rise somewhat late, pack a picnic lunch, walk down Beacon Street to its intersection with Mass Ave, turn left a few blocks to Symphony Hall, and join the rush-seat line. The first couple of hundred occupants of which were privileged to pay sixty cents each for reserved balcony-center seats for the weekly 2pm dress-rehearsal performances of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Then we’d cross the street to the Christian Science Mother Church and consume our picnic lunch in their very pleasant park.

Thus, while finishing up my physics degree at MIT, we managed to enjoy in person every program of the 1964-65 BSO season, under the very Teutonic baton of Erich Leinsdorf, for a total cash outlay of $1.20 per week.

When the Boston Camerata split off from its home at the New England Conservatory and broke important new ground in early music, we were among their earliest season ticket holders. And early on, in our history though not in theirs, we purchased season tickets to the Handel and Haydn Society. A very modest annual contribution entitled us to call ourselves “members” of that august organization, for some years.

In Salt Lake, we found Arlington friend Margaret Dredge employed by the Utah Symphony Orchestra (her impressive title has joined the exodus from my memory), and she sweetly made us a present of season tickets. Which we enjoyed and for which we were exceedingly grateful, but which really couldn’t compensate for what we’d left behind.
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