So we went to a fundraiser for the Oregon Symphony Orchestra tonight. They have been invited to play at Carnegie Hall, which the director (or conductor or whatever) pointed out means that they don’t have to pay to rent the hall as most symphonies do. And it ain’t a cheap hall neither.
Still, there is the considerable expense of packing up one’s symphony and sending it to New York, as well as housing and feeding it whilst there, so a certain amount of shilling for funds is necessary. To entice one into forking over the dough, they imported a few friendly faces: Thomas Lauderdale, Storm Large, and some big gal in a dress such as would make Liberace weep like a lonely angel: Darcelle XV.
It turns out that Ravel’s Bolero is really interesting to watch live, and also that Thomas Lauderdale cannot sit still. Good to know.
But what made me laugh was watching the guys in the very back, the percussionists, some of whom have so little to do. Not that it isn’t important, nor am I making fun of it, but I was watching a couple of guys playing tambourines. A couple of times in one of the pieces they each thwacked their tambourines, very skillfully I might add, but only for a couple of measures a couple of times. So say four brief episodes of tambourine-thwacking. Maybe thirty seconds of thwackage. I leaned over and whispered in Rhonda’s ear: Those guys are being paid a living wage to thwack those tambourines. We busted up.
A bit later in the same piece a guy next to them picked up a lovely pair of brass cymbals and, at the appointed times, clashed them deftly. I imagined his sheet music: Not yet…. Not yet…. Not yet…. Aaaaaaaalmost there…. NOW! (Repeat).
Perhaps this sort of low-brow cogitation on the nature of playing in a symphony is only funny to non-musical ignorami such as myself, but there it is.
Now, the director of the symphony is this great guy named Carlos Something Ethnic Or Another. He’s just what you want in a conductor: tall, thin, lithe, exotic, and funny. He has what I think may be the three things you really must have to be a conductor I enjoy watching: poofy hair, a charming, muddled accent (he was born in Uruguay to Austrian parents, how’s that for charmingly muddled), and some kind of spastic rhythm disorder. My mind wandered over the contents of his personal journal:
Must call hairdresser re: hair not poofy enough. Change conditioners??
Am told there is no “k” on the end of “-ing” suffix. How can this be true? Americans are so confusingk.
Don’t forget enroll for the Pilates class. Must keep knees springky.
Is tuxedo long enough to cover butt? Must not distract elderly ladies with wigglingk.
…All kidding aside, I greatly enjoyed this concert. Stormy sang a few good ones and Darcelle never disappoints. Not bad for a dame pushing 80.