A couple of weeks ago I had tickets to a Christmas concert. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, to be exact. I had purchased my ticket well in advance and made plans to go with a friend. All good.

There are two large cathedrals on Seattle’s Capitol Hill. This will be relevant later.

Here is a timeline of my evening. The concert began at 8 PM.

7:00 PM – at home, start to get ready for concert. Venue is about 30 minutes away, including time for parking and picking up my ticket at will call.

7:35 – pull out of my driveway – a few minutes late, but should be OK.

7:55 – arrive at St. Mark’s Cathedral at the north end of Capitol Hill. Notice a few other cars full of people in dress clothes, circling the immediate area and assume they’re going to the same concert. Widen my parking circle a bit and find a spot. Park and make my way quickly to the cathedral.

7:58 – Upon entering, see the will call table and go ask for my ticket. They don’t have my name. Hmm … I offer to show them the email confirming I purchased a ticket, but they usher me in, saying “we’re sure you paid for it – go on ahead.”

It’s a few minutes before 8:00. Text my friend to ask where she’s sitting (it’s open seating). She texts back that she’s behind the orchestra. Look around for orchestra. Do not find orchestra.

Text her again, saying I can’t find the orchestra. She texts back saying that that is very odd because they’re RIGHT THERE.

Meanwhile, because I am craning around, looking for my friend, people think I’m looking for a seat and several gesture that they have open seats in their rows. Try to politely indicate that I’m looking for someone.

Have the fleeting thought that perhaps Anne went to the wrong concert, but then think “Nah, Anne is highly competent. How on earth would she get confused about something like that?” *Ahem*

8:00 – take a seat, and text Anne that I’ll find her at intermission, then turn off my phone.

8:03 – the concert begins with an address – about the dark nights of winter and the search for hope amid the darkness. This wasn’t quite what I expected from a Bach concert, but OK. The choir starts and the music is lovely, but … it’s not Bach.

8:07 – between songs, take a look at the program. Uh … it’s not Bach’s Christmas Oratorio. It’s On Christmas Night – composers, various.

Anne is nowhere in sight; orchestra is nowhere in sight; they didn’t have my ticket; the program is not as expected. Oh my god … Anne didn’t go to the wrong place, I did!

Remember how there are two large cathedrals on Capitol Hill? The other one is St. James, which is at the south end of Capitol Hill, or really more on First Hill, which is directly south of Capitol Hill. Also, closer to my house. Doh!

I make a discreet look around me. Fortunately I’m on the aisle, near the back of the church, but unfortunately, the entire choir is arrayed behind the pews, in an artful arc. They are between me and the doors. There is no civilized way to get out of the cathedral with the choir standing there. I look at the program. Intermission is probably another 45 minutes away. I resolve to stick it out, figuring if the intermissions of the two concerts are somewhat aligned, I will be able to see at least the second half of the Bach.

The next song begins, and while the performance is good, I feel keenly the loss of my Bach concert. I should pause here to note that Bach is my all time favorite composer, of any era. To say he was a genius is to unreasonably exalt other geniuses. I believe his talent was otherworldly. And, I was missing it. Again, doh!

But, it can’t be helped. Until … miraculously, after the second piece, the narrator takes the podium again, to speak while the choir files forward and take their places in the risers at the front of the church. Freedom! Putting my hand to my chest and feigning my best “about to faint” look, I whisper my apologies to the ushers and exit St. Mark’s.

8:30 – I creep into the vestibule of St. James for the last half of the first part of the program. As anticipated, it is sublime. I find Anne at intermission and relate my hilarious tale, then find a seat to enjoy the rest of my beloved Bach.

Posted by lesherjennifer


  1. What a night! At least you got to hear some of the concert!



    1. Yes – but next time there’s a concert in a cathedral, I’m going to look more closely at the address 🙂



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