1. Hand over the money. The River Glory Singers only accept cash, in exactly the amount due. If you don’t have exact change, the Singers will accept the remainder of your cash as a free will donation.
2. Be prompt. If you get to the venue at 2:57 and the concert begins at 3:00, prepare to be put in time-out in the lobby for the first set.
3. Clap only at appropriate times. The Singers don’t want little crumbs of applause tossed at them after each number. No, they would be better nourished by a thunderous, ten-minute rainstick of applause at the conclusion of each half, thank you.
4. Express emotion. If this three-hour musical homage to soldiers who died in the Civil War doesn’t at least get you to well up a little, you have no soul.
5. Hold your pee. Oh no you will not interrupt “Shenandoah” just to relieve yourself! If you dare to try, you will be pointed back to your pew by a sharp finger and an impossibly raised eyebrow.
6. Dress the part. Men: button downs, add a tie to be safe. Gelled hair and old-man cologne optional. Ladies: church clothes. Cardigans and delicate gold jewelry you received on a special occasion, like your first communion in 1947.
7. Be an attentive listener. This means no texting, no tweeting, and no scribbling out snarky blog posts on the back of your program during the performance. (Whoops.)
8. Don’t be a groupie. You will see the singers at intermission, darting out of the public bathroom in their all-black ensembles. Please, no gushing over how moving the first half was or how you can’t believe how gracefully the first sopranos hit that high F. Keep it in your pants.
9. Respect the venue. It’s probably a historic, ornately-decorated church. No, there’s no air conditioning or drinking fountains. Sorry. Lightly fanning yourself with your program is acceptable.
10. Soak it in. There’s a reason you got off the couch in your air-conditioned apartment on a Sunday and paid $25 to sit in a humid church. Right?
Photo by Tracy Allison Altman (Creative Commons)