David Rodeback's Blog

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Friday, July 29, 2005
4-H Talent Show at the Utah County Fair, A Year Later

Last year, about this time, I blogged about the 4-H Talent Show at the Utah County Fair. I presented it as a microcosm of the amateur arts in Utah Valley and noted that attention to a handful of details would considerably improve the experience.

I have no reason to suppose that anyone responsible for the event actually read my blog, but the same event this year, part of which I attended last evening, was a much more satisfying experience. It was essentially the same event, with the same mix of modest and very impressive young talent - some of the same performers - but this time they got a lot of those details right.

Here are some things that went much better this year:

  • There was no table set up right behind the audience, with a young lady hawking free water tests in full voice in the middle of musical numbers.
  • I didn't see any organizers walking back and forth in between the stage and the audience during performances.
  • While I was there, I noted no obvious dereliction of duty by the person in the sound booth.
  • The children in the audience were better supervised by their parents, and therefore did a lot less bouncing around.

Alas, I missed my own daughter's performance, due to a long delay on northbound I-15. But I did get to hear one of last year's fantastic Bach-playing brothers again, which by itself was enough to justify the trouble getting there. And the judging of the performances was sound again, which is always a good thing. (I cannot comment on the fashion-related part of the show; I know almost nothing of such things.)

The improvements over last year are not earth-shaking (nor did they need to be), but attention to a few details considerably improved the experience. This is how we improve the amateur arts in our little valley: one event, one detail at a time.

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