The Nature Report: Cricket loudly interrupts orchestra concert

Image courtesy of Nicholas Tillinghast/The Miscellany News.

The cricket is in steep competition with the wasp for the title of least respected bug on campus.

Oct. 9, 8:00 p.m.: All was well in the Skinner Recital Hall; the first orchestra concert of the 2021 school year drew a packed house of ready listeners. Suddenly, the chirps of a single cricket could be heard loud and clear over the beautiful sounds of string and wind instruments. The timpani was also present. After 10 minutes of incessant cricket banter, I decided it was my duty as concert usher to investigate the disturbance. I exited the recital hall and heard cricket sounds coming from a bush on the right side of the door. I gave it a good rustle and went back inside. When I heard the cricketing once more, I realized I’d fallen for a red herring. The cricket sound was clearly coming from inside.

 I only have my theories as to why this cricket decided to speak up at this particular time and in this particular place. To me, it seems he attended the orchestra concert so he could appear sophisticated to potential mates. “Look at me, I listen to Johann Strauss. Any female crickets want this?” was probably what he was chirping. There were a few of those brief pauses during the concert where I thought, “Ah, what a relief. He’s done chirping,” and then he had the nerve to start up again. Right before the final piece, he finally conceded, and decided to stop making the concert all about him. The concert finished chirpless. 

Allen Hale ’25, a VC Orchestra trombonist that some might consider decent, said his playing was mostly unaffected by the cricket, yet he was still disappointed with the cricket’s presence. “Hearing them during the silence after the applause made me feel like I was playing for an even bigger audience. I think their etiquette was lacking though. It’s rude to make noise like that and overall I felt disrespected by the six-legged concert [goer].” Hale’s respect level for crickets has dropped from “great respect” to “little respect” since this event.

Cora Blackwell ’24, an attendee at the concert, had a different view. “At first I was furious at this unknown creature, interrupting the beautiful music that the orchestra was working so hard to create. However, after dwelling on the matter, it is my personal opinion that the cricket was so moved by the beautiful music that he felt the need to play along in the only manner that he could.” Blackwell’s respect level for crickets has risen from “moderate respect” to “great respect” since this event.

Later investigation showed the cricket most likely sat in one of the low vents along the right wall, an echoey space that amplified his sound. It was a tricky place for females to hop to and most likely a tricky place for him to get out of. His calls may have simply been a cry for help. Let this be a lesson to all you crickets out there. 

Oct. 23, 8:22 p.m.: In other news, I was able to see a tremendous group of five deer on the grass between the Chapel and Main Gate, four laying down and one quietly chewing grass. I sat on a bench close by and enjoyed the fall night with them. I hadn’t seen a lot of animals during my homecoming last week, aside from a nice hawk on a wire and a surprising amount of roadkill. I’m thinking either this single hawk had eaten every other animal in town and had become the apex predator, or some animal migration had occurred while I was away. Regardless, it was a joy to see five deer on the night of my return. As the night continued, the deer slowly parted ways. Some moved further into campus, others made their own way in the world. If you happened to meet any deer that night, they probably came from that fine patch of grass.

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