And then, the pedals fell off ! ! !

Time to grab a cup of coffee and reminisce a bit.

In my time as Instructgrand pianoor of Music at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, I was accompanying a vocal recital for a woman named Julia who had an incredible soprano voice.  I noticed that the pedals on the grand piano were wobbling a little – and then – they fell off onto the floor with a clunk.  The rest of the concert was a bit of a challenge – and a blur.  While uncomfortable at the time I’ve chuckled over it many times over.

On a sunny – and windy – day in a different city, I was accompanying The Greeley Chorale as they sang for a summer festival in the center of a small collection of stores.  A gust of wind blew in and carried my music round and round and finally right over the top of a restaurant called Potato Brumbaugh’s – named after a character in James Michener’s book, Centennial.  “Chinga Ring Chaw” by Aaron Copland had a somewhat different accompaniment that day, but I think he would have approved under the circumstances.  Makes me smile today.

Another time as this same Chorale was singing for a July Arts Picnic outdoors, that same mischievous wind showed up again and kept turning the pages at the wrong moments.  An Arts Picnic “helper” ran up and duct taped my music to the music rack on the piano amid my frantic protests.  He totally ignored me!  Every page of music that day was ripped to shreds as I had to grab and tear at every turn.  Grrrrrrr.  Sigh.  Smile.

Same Chorale.  A winter festival concert which included groups from the community and area schools.  Chorale was on stage to sing between other acts of music and drama.  We were sequestered between numbers as the heavy curtain was drawn.  A junior high girl was to sing “O Holy Night” in front of the curtain as I accompanied her with the help of a monitor behind the closed curtain.  All was well – until the stage manager gave the order to the lighting crew:  “Cut all the lights except a spotlight on the singer.”  Everything went pitch black and a collective groan went up from me and my astonished friends.  I heard the conductor bumping into things as he groped his way to the stage manager, who was totally oblivious to what his words had brought forth.  Playing by ear was a blessed gift that night!  The audience never knew, but there are those in Chorale who still laugh with me over the “playing in the dark” incident.

A different instrument this time.  I was subbing for the church organist on a Sunday morning, and suddenly, about an octave of organ pipes decided to cipher all at once during the intro to a hymn.  (“Cipher” is the term used when organ pipes get stuck open and air flowing through them plays continuously much to the dismay of the poor organist who has no control over it.)  I felt all eyes – and ears – turn my direction.  The off switch was my next destination, but it seemed to take hours for all the air to leave those naughty pipes.  There was laughter and clapping as I made my way across the chancel to the king of instruments – the PIANO!  What can I say?  It makes me smile.

I’m nor sure why these amusing incidents have been on my mind this week.  They do serve to remind me that there are so many things which make life totally different from what was planned or expected or hoped.  And, often, they pay homage to the marvelous gift of laughter and a sense of humor – something we all benefit from, but especially good for the single who is pondering the “whys” and “whens” and “wheres” of life.

King Solomon wrote of the value of a merry heart contrasting the sharp difference in having and not having.  I’ve chosen to share the “having:”

  •      * Proverbs 15:13 – A cheerful heart brings a smile to your face. . .

  •      * Proverbs 15:15 – . . . a cheerful heart fills the day with song.

  •      * Proverbs 17:22 – A cheerful disposition is good for your health. 

Well, those are some of the amusing things in the life of an accompanist.  There are incredible moments, too, which I’ll share as they fit into more of my thoughts as a seasoned single – like the time when . . . .

Blessings to you, my friends. 😉

References all from The Message.

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