Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

And now, a nice story about the kid who yelled “wow!” at the symphony

Illustration for article titled And now, a nice story about the kid who yelled “wow!” at the symphony
Photo: Boston Globe (Getty Images)

The world is full of terrible events, big and small, that we must all bear witness to day in and day out. Fortunately, sometimes it is also a place where purely good things happen. We’re happy to say that one such story has arrived to cap off the week.


The background is very simple: On Sunday, The Handel And Haydn Society orchestra was performing at the Boston Symphony Hall. Just after the final rest of Mozart’s “Masonic Funeral Music,” an unseen kid yelled out “wow!” in apparently unvarnished appreciation of what he’d just heard. Everyone laughed and applauded the moment.

This is nice on its own merits. A child, caught up in the joy of hearing beautiful music, didn’t sit silently like everyone else in attendance, but broke symphony tradition, which allowed the rest of the audience to follow suit. It gets better, though.

According to Boston’s WGBH, The Handel And Haydn Society was “so charmed” that it posted a message asking if anyone could identify the orchestra’s number-one fan so they could be offered “a trip to meet the artistic director.” Yesterday, WGBH reported that he’s been discovered: a 9-year-old from New Hampshire named Ronan Mattin, “a huge music fan” who was attending the performance with his grandfather, Stephen.

Stephen says that his grandson “is on the autism spectrum, and often expresses himself differently than other people.” He tells WGBH that he “can count on one hand the number of times that [Ronan’s] spontaneously ever come out with some expression of how he’s feeling” and that “he was touched by the kindness of the other audience members… and that the Society reached out” afterward.

Basically, the whole affair is straightforwardly heartwarming. A kid is so moved by live music that he acknowledges it out loud; the audience and performers, rather than observe tradition, act like real people who can find joy in another’s happiness. It’s all a nice celebration of the vital power of music too often thought of as stuffy and boring and, in the end, nothing really sucks about how things turned out.


Read more about the performance and Ronan and Stephen Mattin through WGBH’s full story. Maybe it’ll inspire a trip to see some live music this weekend.

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Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.