You’d think that it would be virtually impossible to forget your instrument when heading off for a concert, yet many musicians have found themselves halfway to a gig when their eyes suddenly widen and they whirl around in the car, breath catching in their throat, wondering if they really remembered to put their violin, clarinet, oboe, or bass (yes, bass–I know people who’ve done this….not me, of course!) in the back seat.
I was recently playing a concert in a resort location quite distant from any major metropolitan area. Arriving at the gig, I was unpacking my bass and going through my pre-concert routine when I noticed our trumpet player on the phone, speaking in hushed tones with a very concerned look on his face.
It’s in the car….right?
About ten minutes before the concert was to begin, an unfamiliar man carrying a large sack appeared through the side door backstage. The trumpet player shook his hand and the man began pulling assorted trumpets out of the bag, handing them to our trumpet player for him to try out.
This seemed like a rather odd thing to be doing only moments before a concert, but I shrugged it off and continued warming up. The concert began and we shuffled onstage, where our trumpet player proceeded to nail the part with his usual grace and mastery.
As it turns out, our trumpet player had driven up from Chicago that day and had forgotten to put his trumpet in the car. He didn’t realize this until about 5:30 p.m. (our concert was to start at 7:30 p.m.), and he found himself in the uncomfortable position of being hundreds of miles from home in an unfamiliar area with no contacts and no major city for almost 100 miles.
He began calling everyone he could think of (the musical network can often work wonders in critical pinches), and through a series of referrals got hooked up with a person with a supply of trumpets (music store owner? not sure….).
Unfortunately, this guy was also a good 100 miles away, but he took off to meet our trumpet player at the concert. Incidentally, this concert was in a very off-the-beaten path location, several turns off any major highway with fairly questionable signage. The guy made it, however–amazing!
The “trumpet rescue squad” guy stayed for the first art of the concert (no doubt to take the trumpet back after the piece was done), and after we took our bow, we all gave him a bow as well! He certainly deserved it!
Call me Captain Forgetful
Though I’ve never actually forgotten my instrument, I have managed to lose or misplace just abut every other item in my arsenal, including:
- my bow
- my music
- my white shirt
- my belt
- my shoes
- my black socks
- my music stand
- my directions to the gig
- my tie
I’ve also worn the wrong outfit, gotten the rehearsal/concert time wrong, and probably simply left my brain at home on more than one occasion. I don’t think that I’m an especially forgetful person (though the above list makes me wonder!), but playing different music in a different location at different times of day while wearing different outfits increases the odds that one of these things will get bungled.
What have you forgotten?
Have you ever left your instrument at home? Headed to the wrong venue? Brought only white socks? Leave a comment and let me know. I think that just about everyone has a good “oops!” story or two in their mental archives.