We have what we hope is a polite suggestion for the Utah Symphony:
Take a close look at what is being done at the University of Iowa's Hancher Auditorium to deal with coughers and sneezers whose hacking and sniffling interfere with the enjoyment of other music-lovers in the audience (See related story on A6).Though the problem is so acute in Iowa that crowds at the university auditorium are called "Hancher Hackers," practically no music hall is immune from it. At a recent performance in Buffalo, N.Y., for example, soprano Jessye Norman was so disturbed by coughers that she told the audience: "I hope you can hear me as well as I can hear you."
In any event, Hancher's has responded by having ushers offer cough drops to concertgoers then threatening to exile intransigent coughers to sound-proof booths. The tactic seems to have worked: In contrast to the usual sneezing and wheezing at concerts, a recent performance by violinist Isaac Stern is said not to have been marred by so much as a sniffle.
At Salt Lake City's Symphony Hall, persistent coughers might have to be exiled not to sound-proof booths but to the corridors, where they could still hear performances over the loudspeaker.
The suggestion, like Utah Symphony concerts themselves, is nothing to sneeze at.