Out and About – Week of February 25th

We recently attended the Lions of Michigan Forum in Lansing. It’s an annual gathering of Lions from all over the state of Michigan. It runs from Friday evening through about mid-afternoon on Saturday. The Forum consists of about a dozen breakout sessions, from which we may choose to attend. A very educational day or so, plus we have the opportunity to visit with other Lions from the many clubs and districts throughout the state.

The Saturday luncheon includes a nice lunch plus entertainment. This year’s entertainment consisted of a group of junior college students who dazzled us with their singing and dancing. They entertained us for about forty-five minutes, and we were all greatly appreciative of their being there. We all gave them a warm round of applause, which included a standing ovation. This is what led me to wonder about this method of showing appreciation.

I’m beginning to think that a standing ovation has become more of an expected thing after a performance and, as a result, has lost its importance. In community theater, the only pay the actors receive is the applause delivered by the audience at the end of each performance. A standing ovation used to be a rare occurrence, but today, it often accompanies the whistles and yelps of joy dealt by the audience.

In high school productions, standing ovations are quite common. I suppose it’s because the younger generation has not been exposed to productions of a higher scale, and you can’t blame the parents for being tremendously proud of their children’s performance on stage. I don’t have the answer, and we probably don’t need one. After all, I haven’t asked a question yet. I think I’ll start the next paragraph with a one.

When is it appropriate to give a standing ovation? Every year, the Kennedy Center recognizes four or five outstanding individuals for their accomplishments in the arts. They always have several people who pay tribute to each of them. I find this very entertaining. At the end of each celebrity’s portion, everyone rises and faces the celebrity and gives them a standing ovation. In my mind, this is very appropriate.

In the Lions organization, when a District Governor or someone else of high ranking is introduced, everyone in the room stands. This is not a reward for a good performance, but is what we refer to as “Protocol”. The same could be said of the act of saluting a military officer of higher rank. You are saluting the rank, not the person.

Standing ovations were a common occurrence during the State of the Union address a couple of weeks ago. Part of this might have been protocol, but I’d rather refer to it as “Politics”. I don’t remember seeing the Speaker of the House stand that many times.

The reason I bring this topic up at this time is that Three Rivers High School will present the production of Thoroughly Modern Millie in the very near future. I know the director of this production, and she is a perfectionist. She will not settle for good enough; she expects the best, and the actors know this. Previous productions of South Pacific and Phantom both received standing ovations. It’s up to the audience to judge whether this coming production will fare as well. A hearty round of applause is very heart-warming. A standing ovation is something performers will long remember.

See you Out and About!

Submitted by Norm Stutesman

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