Calvin duplicating himself using a cardboard b...

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Now that school is out in many places, I thought it might be a good time for a few laughs.  Here goes!

Worst possible high school moment

One day in chorus rehearsal, we worked on a piece where the conductor made a big deal out of the Grand Pause about half way through.  We then started singing from the beginning.  So we get to the Grand Pause, releasing the note before it as indicated by the conductor.

Along the way, I had gotten the hiccups!  Releasing the note meant that my mouth was open, and I hiccuped SO LOUDLY during the Grand Pause, everyone turned around to look at me in the back row.  Self:  embarassed.  Face:  bright red.

College cello jury

I was accompanying a jury for a gifted student of Joel Krosnick‘s.  She was a freshman.  After announcing a Popper Etude and the Brahms E minor Cello Sonata, the student launched into the Popper.  Since the etude was unaccompanied, my hands were in my lap.

The next thing that happened?  She started the Brahms without a break between pieces!  Fortunately, my music was open.  The piano enters just after the cello, with the off-beat.  Whew!  Made it!  And it will never happen again!

2 grad school stories

It was 10:00 p.m.  I was tired, ready to stop practicing for the night.  As happened often, a singer knocked on my practice room door.  She was desperate!  In the Martin Katz class the following night, she was to sing a Poulenc song.  Not only had she not learned her part, she didn’t know French.

How in the world can you teach someone a French song in 10 minutes, especially a fast one?

I spoke the words into her tape recorder.  And then I played her part at 1/2 tempo, followed by the piano part at the same speed.

And I’ll be darned.  The next night, she aced it!

In another class taught by Martin Katz, “my” singer was about to begin singing Mozart’s “Ach, ich fühl’s,” in which the singer and orchestra (in this case, me) begin together.  From over my right shoulder, I heard a stage whisper, “Give her the pitch!”

The singer had perfect pitch.  So I defied authority, we started together, she was on the right pitch, and Martin Katz said, “Oh.”

And 2 concerts

A violinist and I were waiting backstage before one of our concerts at the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace in New York.  The concert presenter was unable to come, so he sent someone from his board of directors to introduce us.  Well, she loved to talk.  It was turning into the longest introduction ever.

The landmark house contains many artifacts, including old fire equipment hanging on the wall backstage.  The violinist and I started cracking up, just standing there waiting.  We were considering taking the hook off the wall and using it, when the woman finally stopped talking.

A Princeton concert with this same violinist involved me navigataing with a knee cast.  Our entrance went well enough, and the page turner took care of my crutches.  There was no intermission.

So here’s what happened at the end of our program.  We bowed to the audience, with me standing on one leg and holding onto the piano with one hand.

And then it was time to walk off.  Oops.  Where were my crutches?  Away from the piano, nowhere that I could retrieve them.  The page turner, also the director of the concert series, had left in order to schmooze with audience members.

I was stuck!  We both just stood there.  The audience stopped applauding after a while, but I still couldn’t go anywhere.  I felt like I’d have to grin and wave, “Hi, Mom!”

But wait, there’s more!  Greeting audience members backstage occasionally has its moments.  People sometimes don’t know what to say.  An elderly man fit that description this time.  He said, “You play very well with a cast!”

Do you have a funny music story to share?  Please comment below!

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