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My husband and I attended a fund-raising event for our local symphony tonight. The source of the revenue is two-fold: admission ticket for appetizers and wine and a silent auction for wine and donated art works. Before the music starts people are expected to make bids for bottles of wine and art pieces.

We first chatted with people we knew before making a bid for a small print. (Since I had dental work done in the afternoon, I had to struggle to keep one side of my mouth up. One should not make a dental appointment before attending social events: this is what I learned today.) Then, we served ourselves small plates of appetizers and ended up seating at a table far from the musical quartet seating. We were soon joined by another couple, and made small talks about the local economy, etc… Suddenly the lights went out, leaving only some candle lights. We gazed at the door that was opened suddenly, believing some spectacle related Christmas to happen was about to happen (after all, the event was titled “Yuletide”). But, our anticipation was squashed quickly, because we came to know the extinguishment of the light was not deliberate at all. It was a power outage caused by strong wind (since the small event hall was on the water, the wind was stronger).

Thus, the music was played in a dark hall while a few people lighted the music stands with flash lights for the musicians. We moved to a place closer to the musicians. I have to say that it was not an optimal condition to listen to the music however sweetly it may have been played. The flashlight glared into my eyes from time to time when the musicians bobbed their heads. So I lowered my eyes first to avoid the glare, and then closed my eyes, as the musicians played some classical music. I think this experience taught me that lowering your eyes is not necessarily conducive to good musical appreciation. It seems to mitigate some sensory stimuli. (I supposed this is the reason why Zen roshi , teacher, suggests that you lower your eyes during meditation.) I also found closing eyes does not necessarily enhance the auditory aesthetic experience for me because I heard so many noises, such as people talking in low voices.

All things considered, it was an unusual experience.