A colleague of mine passed along this entertaining (and true!) tale from a concert in a local per-service gig orchestra. I know a lot of musicians who perform in this orchestra (which I’ll refrain from naming here), which makes it even funnier to me.
A regional orchestra in metro Chicago was recently rehearsing a piece with a tricky section that started with solo harp. When the ensemble finally got to this passage in rehearsal, the entire piece fell apart.
Conductor: Harp, you must watch me there!
Harpist: No–there’s no way I can watch you there. I have to be looking at my strings there. It’s much too complicated.
Conductor: Um….OK. Well, you should at least play it at my tempo. Here–I’ll sing it, and you remember this speed when we get there.
[conductor sings harp part]
Harpist: Ha! There’s no way I can play it that fast! I’d have to be really good to play it at that speed–and if I was that good, there’s no way I’d be playing in this orchestra!
[conductor gapes at harpist speechlessly while the entire ensemble erupts in laughter]
Really, what can you say to that? Some harpists just like to tell it like it is. I know–I’m married to one!
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/freekorps/357647930/