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Archive for Thursday, January 23, 1992

CULTURE AND GENTILITY

January 23, 1992

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Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, regarded as one of the world's renowned symphony halls, is now giving away throat lozenges to keep coughing concert-goers from marring musical performances. The 103-year-old concert hall began distributing the eucalyptus and lemon-flavored pastilles recently in hopes of suppressing a level of coughing, hacking and throat clearing that bothers patrons and musicians.

The surprising thing is that it took the Netherlands management so long to get to this point. Concert-goers at Kansas University have had access to free lozenges of various types for some time. Further, the Concertgebouw is advising audiences not to chomp, but to suck gently on the lozenges for best effect. Don't even crinkle the cellophane wrappers, it says in its concert programs. The Concertgebouw director, Martijn Sanders, said he was inspired by a similar giveaway at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall in New York City.

He should have contacted KU for advice long ago. Local audiences generally are quite polite and considerate, and there has been no apparent problem of chomping or disposal for the wrappers. Granted, there are always local coughers and throat-clearers who would be doing everyone a favor if they departed and took care of their problems. But for the most part, the KU audience department is commendable.

Lawrence may not be quite as ``world-renowned'' as the Concertgebouw, but its audiences apparently are every bit as cultured and genteel, maybe more so, considering the Dutch educational campaign on lozenges.

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