Handel and Haydn Society's artistic director Harry Christophers had just finished conducting a performance of Mozart's "Masonic Funeral," and was holding that final moment of silence before the applause, when a child in the audience loudly exclaimed "Wow!"
This exclamation of awe startled some laughter out of the audience, followed by a hearty round of applause.
WCRB happened to be recording the performance, the season finale of WCRB In Concert, which will air this fall. You can listen to a short clip of the end of the performance on their website.
Rather than being upset or offended at the child's outburst of wonder, President and CEO of the Handel and Haydn Society, David Snead, set out to find the child.
He described the experience in an email sent to the Society's mailing list as:
"one of the most wonderful moments I've experienced in the concert hall."
In the same email, he also called for the parents of the child to contact him, if they were comfortable doing so, and guaranteed that their identity would be kept confidential if that was what the family wanted.
The reason Snead wanted to know the child's identity was to give them the opportunity to meet the conductor and attend another performance as a guest of honor.
The Handel and Haydn Society's website describes the reason for the founding of the organization as:
"for the purpose of improving the style of performing sacred music, and introducing into more general use the works of Handel and Haydn and other eminent composers."
Encouraging a lifelong love of music in a child who showed such obvious interest seems like it lines up perfectly with this mission.
Twitter users were in love with the child's reaction.
@995WCRB @handelandhaydn From the mouth of babes... I just love this!! https://t.co/V7DsxZp10B— Magnolia_981 (@Magnolia_981)1557406424.0
@995WCRB @wgbhnews This is making me cry!! The music..the kid...the goodness of it— dakota lane (@dakota lane)1557474981.0
@995WCRB @handelandhaydn I’ve often wanted to do that at a concert; so glad he did.— pgetty (@pgetty)1557497824.0
@995WCRB @handelandhaydn We’ve all felt like this child. #ILoveClassicalMusic— Diana Welte (@Diana Welte)1557420821.0
@995WCRB @handelandhaydn I love how you can hear the genuine wonderment in his little voice.— C. E. Albanese (@C. E. Albanese)1557446808.0
@995WCRB @handelandhaydn as a life-long music educator -- THIS. IS. EVERYTHING. Beautiful child, may you continue t… https://t.co/MhdMzEVhSZ— MaryBeth Smith (@MaryBeth Smith)1557408440.0
@995WCRB @handelandhaydn A music lover is born! Sweet sound to fellow music lovers’ ears 🎶— Diane MacDougall (@Diane MacDougall)1557485350.0
As it turns out, the child's grandfather came forward after Snead's request.
9-year-old Ronan Mattin was attending the performance with his grandfather, Stephen Mattin, when he was overwhelmed by the beauty of the performance and uttered the now-famous "Wow!"
Stephen noted that Ronan, who is on the autism spectrum, is a huge fan of music. The pair went to another concert in Boston a few months prior and Ronan was completely captivated.
Stephen said that after the concert, Ronan:
"talked about nothing else for weeks."
Stephen told WGBH that he had relayed the story of Ronan's enjoyment of the concert to a few people.
"I had told several people because I thought it was a funny story about how he was expressing his admiration for the performance and put everybody in stitches."
Mattin talked about how he has seen a shift in the way people regard those who express themselves differently.
"You know, everybody's different. Everybody has different ways of expressing themselves.
"I think people in general, society's becoming more tolerant or understanding of the differences between people."
Ronan will have the chance to see and hear the Handel and Haydn Society perform again, as the guest of honor.
His family are still working out the details with the Society, but if his past reaction is any indication, he is sure to love the performance.
If you'd like to experience the Handel and Haydn Society under the direction of Harry Christophers, their recording of Haydn: Symphonies Nos. 49 & 87; Mozart: Sinfonia Concertante is available here.