Saturday, June 13, 2015

An Orchestra In Albuquerque in July

A travelling orchestra had planned on being in Albuquerque in January and Minneapolis in July. However, their manager got the dates wrong and the group ended up doing a three-day run in an outdoor theater in Albuquerque in the middle of the July heat. The event was exhausting and by the third night, everyone was just hoping to survive one more concert and move on.

During the last song - Beethoven's Ninth - the bass players in the back of the orchestra hatch a plan. There's a bit in the middle of the song that's all violins and flutes, surely they won't be missed. They decide to sneak out to the bar next door for a drink, 'just to keep hydrated.'

They stay a little longer than they should have, and drink a lot more than they would have, when one of them realizes that they are going to miss their entrance. The ring-leader of the group tells them to not worry, as he had the foresight to tie the last page of the score down with a bit of string. It will take the conductor a while to unite it, which means the concert will stop and they can sneak in. They drunkenly congratulate him for being so smart as they stumble back to the theater.

Meanwhile, the conductor is in a bind. The very energetic end of the piece is coming up and his bass section is missing. The violinists are working up a sweat trying to keep up in the heat when suddenly the first violinist faints from heat exhaustion. This is the last straw for the second violinist and she faints too. The bass section begins stumbling in not so subtly as they are knocking people, instruments, and chairs over. To top it all off, someone has tied down the last page of the score as he is desperately trying to flip the page.

It would do us good to sympathize with the conductor and put ourselves in his shoes. From his vantage point, he begins to realize that:
  • There are two out, at the end of the ninth
  • The score is tied
  • And the basses are loaded.

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