The search is over for a young boy who was wowed by a classical music performance at Boston Symphony Hall last Sunday.
Nine-year-old Ronan Mattin was at the concert with his grandfather when he let out a loud “Wow!” following a performance of Mozart’s “Masonic Funeral Music” by the Handel and Haydn Society. The spontaneous moment brought on laughter and cheers from the audience, and even prompted a search for the boy online.
“It was a really, really nice experience for both of us and I think everybody else seemed to get a charge out of his reaction,” his grandfather, Stephen Mattin, told TODAY.
Mattin shared that his grandson, whose family lives in New Hampshire, is on the autism spectrum and is relatively nonverbal.
“One of the few activities that we go to that can really hold his attention are musical events and particularly anything with choruses and lots of singing,” Mattin said.
The Handel and Haydn Society shared audio of the moment, recorded by WCRB Classical Radio Boston, on Facebook, writing, “Listen to this brief clip from Sunday's performance of Mozart's 'Masonic Funeral Music,' and enjoy the wonderful moment of spontaneity just after the music ends.”
Mattin said he’d shared the story with several people, including his wife, who thought it was hilarious. But it was his sister-in-law who finally came across a local news report about the viral moment and immediately recognized that it was Ronan.
Eventually, Mattin said they got in touch with the Handel and Haydn Society.
“We are delighted to have connected with Ronan Mattin, the boy who brought so much joy to an entire audience during Sunday’s Handel and Haydn performance,” David Snead, president and CEO of the Handel and Haydn Society, said in a statement. “The Handel and Haydn Society, America’s oldest performing arts organization, has been performing in Boston for 204 years and we can safely say that this was a first. Ronan’s reaction has touched many of our musicians.”
Mattin said that despite his grandson’s affection for music, even he was surprised by Ronan blurting out “Wow!” at the end of the song.
“He doesn’t spontaneously come out with a lot of expressions of how he’s feeling,” Mattin said.
Mattin brought Ronan to a gospel choir performance a few months ago that the boy was really taken with, so he opted to take him to the Handel and Haydn Society concert, which he said was an ambitious decision.
Throughout the concert, Mattin said his grandson was leaning over the balcony and waving his arms around as Mattin tried to restrain him from singing too loudly.
Ronan and his grandfather FaceTimed Friday with a conductor for the Handel and Haydn Society. Mattin said the conductor invited the pair to attend more performances in the future, and chatted with Ronan about his experience on Sunday.
Mattin said he’s grateful to the Handel and Haydn Society “for being so nice about the whole thing.”
“I was very pleased with the reaction of everybody,” he said.