Saturday, November 04, 2006


I met the Diva-Me last night.

My church is hosting a big deal concert tomorrow and a group of musicians (if you can call them that) from all over the US have converged on our city. Our choir and church orchestra are interspersed in this group for a big combined deal.

Let me start out by saying I am competitive. But when it comes to playing the flute/piccolo, I'm uber-competitive. I fit the typical "flutist mold" of being catty. I know I'm good (and have a few things to back it up...Texas All-State Piccolo? Yep, one of seven in the state that year!), but I don't try to act all snotty and diva-ish. But last night just caught me off guard!

After last night's rehearsal, this concert seems more like a circus! First, there's the soloist whistler. Yes, he's whistling and we are backing him up. Then there's the guy that's going to conduct a piece he arranged and he conducts backwards! For those of you that know what I'm talking about, conducting with your right arm and in 4/4 time, try conducting doing beat 2 out to your right and beat 3 in to your left. That seriously put a short circuit in my brain! But this guy is apparently Big Man On Campus and no one has the calf fries to tell him he's not doing it quite right.

Now to the flute section. There are two ladies with this group. I understand that I'm coming into their turf, so I'll play second part...I may not like it, though. Can I tell you how long it's been since I've played with another flute playing in my left ear? Um...since grad school back in 1998. My Masters Degree wasn't in music so I didn't expect to be first chair. I digress...

I can't hear the lady that's playing first. Some of that is because she's two people away from me. Some of it's because she's NOT PLAYING! And don't even get me started on the second flute player. I'm in tune until she starts playing. She is not so good.

We were expecting a really good group.

Not so much.

So, at the rehearsal last night, I play the piccolo on one piece because I'm used to playing that part. After that, they just gave me all the picc parts. No sweat off my brow...that's what I'd rather play. I mean, it's an octave higher than the flute and it's usually playing in the stratosphere! Yahoo!

We go through the rehearsal and I learn that the guy conducting the rehearsal (not Captain Backwards) is the assistant conductor. The Maestro is Boris and he's sitting in the back listening to the rehearsal. I guess he's too good to do the grunt work? What's up with that? More weirdness.

After the rehearsal, the assistant conductor comes up to the flutes and says, "We didn't go over Stars and Stripes." I kinda noticed that. Then he says, "I will want the piccolo solo memorized." This is not unusual. Lots of groups have the piccolos stand or something during that part and we wail! In high school, we used to get all the flutes on piccolos during that part and we'd stand at the front of the stage and toot our little hearts out. Yeah, I've got that part memorized.

Oh, did I mention that I had the BAND part memorized? That's a totally different key than the ORCHESTRA part! Sheesh. Poor X-man and TC had to listen to me try to memorize it this morning. It is not a quiet part!

We have rehearsal all afternoon today...2:00 to 9:00 with an hour from dinner. When I first heard it was going to be that long, I wondered what we'd do with all that time.

Now that I've heard the group, I know that we'll need all that time so we don't sound like crap tomorrow.

When they tape the show.

To play on PBS stations around the country.



Anonymous said...

Yep, ASH's parents are having fun, too. They're especially fond of the "drinking" song. Hope y'all make it through the marathon of rehearsals. Thanks to you, I'll be hearing the "Stars & Stripes" piccolo solo in my head all day! I wish I could have played the trombone part while in college...I "wonder" why Mr. W never pulled that music out. HA!

Sarah, Cayley and Maddie said...

Exciting! I hope everyone else shapes up for the taping! You'll have to let us know what the show will air as so I can look for you!

Sarah said...

I hope you tell us when the PBS show is, because I will so watch it, and want to pick you out of the tooty flutes.

Becky Oehlers said...

Yes...I DO understand your pain. I am not only a professional opera singer but I was a double major as well in french horn performance. My father is a flautist. I get it.