Monday, May 22, 2017

The Concert Laugh

I played Baritone horn all through grade school and high school. I’m sure my parents went to quite a few of my performances, but in my edited memory, they never came to a single one. In the totally fictional version, I look out into the auditorium, only to find two empty chairs with “reserved” scrawled across in children’s handwriting.

Again, I’m sure parents went to a ton of band stuff, but my screwy memories give me plenty of anxiety over showing up to Elijah’s stuff.

Last week I raced home to attend Eli’s first band concert. A concert that had been rescheduled due to a kidney stone issue the music teacher was all too ready to describe in graphic detail in a recent note home.

Eli plays the French Horn. Well, a French Horn occupies space in our front room. I’ve never actually heard him play because he never, ever practices. The French Horn basically plays itself, as any maestro will tell you, so I wasn’t worried. Plus, it was 4th grade band, so I was already expecting a sonic horror show.

The Earth decided to be super hot that day (thanks Obama) and the school auditorium wasn’t air conditioned, so we decided to sit as high up in the balcony as we could. Just to make sure we captured all the heat.

Unlike the more austere audience on the main floor, the balcony took on a decidedly Jimmy Buffet vibe. Moms and Dads shouted down at their kids on stage. A lot of neighborhood gossip was loudly aired. I even brought out my rarely used “shush” for a couple loudmouths.

Things quieted down just as Diana snuck in from work to take her seat and the show began.

The music teacher (straight out of Central Casting) gave us a brief update on his kidneys and referred us to the Xeroxed programs. There were two groups: “Fourth Grade Band” and “Advanced.” Way to beat around the bush. Why not call the first group “Sucky at Band?”

Each group had about 10 songs. Group 1 was on first and the collective audience thought to themselves, “As soon as they are done I am OUT OF HERE.” But the band teacher, evil genius, informed is that we would be listening to 8 songs from “Fourth Grade Band,” then the ten “Advanced” songs and then back to “Fourth Grade Band.” Essentially trapping us into listening to all 20 songs. I couldn’t even be angry.

The concert sounded exactly how you’d think for 30 kids who had just picked up their instruments 3 months ago. But here and there you could pick out the melody of “Hot Cross Buns.”

As the music teacher raised his baton to begin another song, a student prematurely ejaculated a note from his trombone.

Diana burst out laughing. Now, Diana has a lovely laugh. Simply lovely. But it is a laugh that travels. And it bounced off every wall in the auditorium. I bugged my eyes out at her and mouthed, “Cut it out!”

But “Laughing In Church” disease struck Diana and tears began streaming down her face. Her body heaving with laugh spasms.

Luckily, her laughs were quickly drowned out by what I can only assume was “Hot Cross Buns” again.

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