Last night my husband Michael and I played for "open mic night" at a local coffee house. Michael is a jazz guitarist and plays like one, and I improvise on the violin like a composer. Still, we get along musically and have developed a respect for each other's style. Anyway, we played a couple of old "standard" songs last night and had a really good time playing. What impressed me most about the evening however, was the kind attentiveness of the audience. The performing area of the coffee house was packed with mostly college and high school students, and nobody talked during any of the performances (we stayed for two hours). It almost seemed to me that the people who were there last night (people in their later teens and twenties!) had a kind of need to participate in live performance either as a performer or as a listener. In this media-drenched age it fills me with hope.
Is this particular coffee house an isolated island of highly civilized behavior, or does this reflect a general trend?