The Handel & Haydn Society has found the kid who delivered what the orchestra's president calls "one of the most wonderful moments" he's experienced in a concert hall. Stephen Mattin says his grandson, 9-year-old Ronan Mattin, was the boy who charmed the crowd with a delighted "Wow!" at the end rendition of Mozart's "Masonic Funeral" at Boston's Symphony Hall. Mattin, who took his grandson to the concert, tells WGBH that Ronan is on the autism spectrum, and he "can count on one hand the number of times that [he's] spontaneously ever come out with some expression of how he's feeling." Laughter and applause followed Ronan's exclamation, which can be heard here.
"I had told several people because I thought it was a funny story," Mattin says. "About how he was expressing his admiration for the performance and put everybody in stitches." He says Ronan loves classical music and after another concert a few months ago, he "talked about nothing else for weeks." The orchestra, America's oldest performing arts group, says it hopes the appreciation from its "young new fan" will counter stereotypes about classical music being "stuffy and aloof," the AP reports. Orchestra president David Snead—who wrote to concert attendees in an effort to find the "Wow!" kid—plans to set up a meeting between Ronan and conductor Harry Christophers and will invite the family to another Mozart performance later this year. (Read more uplifting news stories.)