Seconds after the orchestra stopped playing Mozart's "Masonic Funeral Music" at the Boston Symphony Hall on Sunday, 9-year-old Ronan Mattin was so swept away by the music that he loudly exclaimed — for the whole auditorium to hear — "Wow!"
After a beat, as Ronan's awe-filled "Wow!" echoed throughout the hall, the audience burst into laughter and cheers. So charmed were the Handel and Haydn Society by the child's exclamation that theyasked the public to help find him, hoping to reward the sweet sentiment with a trip to meet the artistic director. Audio of the concert was recorded by WCRB, Boston's classical radio station (and part of the WGBH Foundation).
Ronan didn't mean to be disruptive, said his grandfather, Stephen Mattin, who took Ronan to the concert. His grandson, Mattin explained, is on the autism spectrum, and often expresses himself differently than other people.
"I can count on one hand the number of times that [he's] spontaneously ever come out with some expression of how he's feeling," Mattin said.
Mattin said that his sister-in-law saw on television that the Handel and Haydn Society was searching for the "wow kid," and the family, who lives in Kensington, New Hampshire, reached out soon after. The Society has invited them to meet the artistic director, and they are figuring out a date.
Ronan is a huge music fan, his grandfather said. He took the 9-year-old to another concert in Boston a few months ago, and he "talked about nothing else for weeks," he said. Ronan loves taking trips to visit the Museum of Science and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Mattin said, and he was excited for Sunday's concert.
Courtesy of Stephen Mattin
Ronan Mattin, 9, and his grandfather, Stephen Mattin.