Cell Phone from Hell

New York Times, Metropolitan Diary, December 7, 1998

Enid Nemy with Ron Alexander


cellphon.gif (9236 bytes)The male vocal group Lionheart performed recently at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin in Manhattan. The audience was completely absorbed in the chants of 12th-century Paris when a shrill ring of a cell phone brought everyone rudely back to the 20th century.

To general astonishment, a woman left her seat, phone to her ear, and walked behind a nearby sarcophagus where she proceeded to talk. The audience could hear her, and members of the group on stage later told me she was telling the person at the other end of the line that she was "at a Lionheart concert" and that "they're singing Renaissance music." (Note: It was really medieval, but what's a few centuries?)

The piece over, the men in the ensemble stopped and looked in her direction, but she continued talking, oblivious to the fact that now everyone was looking at her. Finally, an irate member of the audience walked over and urged her to stop or leave.

She then proceeded up the side aisle, still talking, and turned into a small chapel to continue. The audience was incensed. Another member walked over, took her by the arm and led her out of the church, still talking.

Resuming the concert, Richard Porterfield, a member of the group, said, "This piece, appropriately, is about the world going to hell." The audience laughed and the concert continued; the intrusion of the modern era was over.


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