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Seating in Jordan Hall

Tonight I am going to an Emerson String Quartet concert in Jordan Hall, a ~1000 seat concert hall in Boston that is part of the New England Conservatory. Chamber music is not my favorite kind of classical music, but these people are good and one of their works is Schubert's Death and the Maiden which is absolutely wonderful and I'd go to any chamber music concert where that is on the program.

Jordan Hall was built in 1903 and was recently renovated. It has a strange design of a sloped floor and a horseshoe shaped balcony. As a result the seats which curve around in this seating configuration are all slanted such that one side is higher than the rest which makes slightly uncomfortable seating.

I've often fantasized that at the intermission, people should switch to the mirror image seat so that each buttock gets equal time on the downhill side. It would be a nuisance for everyone to move their coats, but it certainly could be done. It would add a new element of quirkiness to an already quirky situation. Each time I suggest this to Robert he gives me one of those looks.

Suddenly today when thinking about this I came up with a better idea. I think the design of the seats is such that the seat cushion assembly is bolted onto the side/arm assembly. I will verify this tonight, but it would be possible to rebolt each seat so that it was level. I am not sure about the backs. It might be a bit odd sitting down where the seat to floor distance is different for each foot but at least the body would be level. If this is technically feasible then a crew of 10-12 people could stow away in the hall overnight and reconstruct the entire hall. If it took 5 minutes per seat then each person could be counted on to do 10 an hour and since many of the seats on the floor are OK there would probably be only about 600 to do.

The big problem would be how/where could all these people stow away. When I described it to Robert he pointed out that there is the worry of the night watchman - something I had neglected to think about.


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