Sunday, May 14, 2006

Reeds don't "get" death threats: A Tale of Two Reeds

I begged, I pleaded, they didn't listen. Here are some memorable moments from the last few Andrew Lloyd Webber shows:

Friday night--best show. My personal best, and I thought, "Great job, trombonist! We finally played that soli in tune together!" The energy was great with the singers; "Don't cry for me, Argentina" singer nailed it. She was my favourite--very expressive, colourful voice.

Saturday matinee--realized that Friday night was the peak of my reed's life. Downhill from there. Thought about that pink reed sitting next to it in the reed case. Wasn't sure if it was up to the challenge. It didn't make the cut in rehearsal.

Saturday evening--several reed-induced missed entrances. Shoulda-woulda-coulda syndrome...if only I hadn't been up at 6:30am to sell at a garage sale until noon, in the cold, resulting in a day's worth of sniffles. If only I'd taken time to work on reeds between the matinee and the evening performance instead of resting and eating dinner. Unfortunately, these thoughts permeated as I was missing the entrances. Then it spread to the notes themselves...mistakes I'd never made before. I was on the verge of tears at intermission when the curtain went down. Mom Sandra, the flutist (only early 30s, but very "mom"), noticed I was upset, so of course she's there consoling me, making it worse. The tears come. I chastise myself for crying and when a trumpet player compliments me, I say, "yeah, well, not so great tonight." He responds with, "Geez, you can't take a compliment? See if I ever compliment you again." (This was cleared up later on, and he has since complimented me twice.) I pull myself together for the second half, and my reed switch, to the pink, was a saving grace. I thought, that's it! I will play the pink all day tomorrow.

Sunday matinee--the pink reed didn't really like being played. Too much pressure for its short little life. Way better performance than the night before.

Sunday evening--yes, still better than the night before, but not as good as the afternoon performance, and a far cry from Friday night's glory. Pink-orange-pink-orange. They had me guessing the entire time. End of a production, kind of fizzling out, which is really too bad. There was really great energy at the beginning of the show, but the sheer desire for it to be over was predominant as the second half laboured on. The power notes seemed to get longer and longer, which was a trend we'd all observed as the week progressed. How long can he sustain it tonight? " beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!" Ugh... Anyway, we all did a little cheer when the final curtain went down. Our paychecks in hand, we all went about finding ways of ridding our brains of the catchy melodies haunting our sleep for the past week. I did have one particularly bad mishap in this last show. Right before my English horn solo in Memory, I went to wet my reed with my mouth and take a breath, and the reed came right off the bocal. ARRRRGGGG!! I scrambled to put it back in time, but I missed the entire first measure of my solo. Wow, I'm not sounding like much of a pro in this blog, am I? Missed entrances, wrong notes, missing measures? Well, what I'm trying to tell myself is that "it happens to everyone". I'm trying not to let that negative voice jump out and say, "it happens to you, which goes to show why you're not playing in a pit orchestra in New York." When I look back on all the performances, I was reliable where it really counted. It was only the Saturday night performance that was off, and you know what? I'm human. 8 shows in 6 days. I cut (rather, the cat did) my lip, my tendonitis reared its ugly head, my reeds sucked, and I persevered. I'm human. I loved this gig. The music was "numbingly predictable" (as the reviewer noted--ouch!), but it was so fun. I met lots of people, made contacts, and may have even scored my parents some comp tickets to Hairspray in Las Vegas this week... I'm ready to make some more reeds, and while my chops are fresh (though slightly beat up), I might just learn a concerto or two this week. Or maybe I'll pack...oh yeah, and study...and catch up on DVR.

No comments: