It Came Organ-ically

, , | Working | September 13, 2017

(I’m a musician, with a regular gig in our city’s professional orchestra. One of the numbers on the program is a blues song, with a prominent electric organ part that my friend is playing. As we are rehearsing, the conductor stops to ask him to make a volume adjustment. It’s a totally mundane request, but unfortunately he chooses to phrase it like this:)

Conductor: “[Friend], can you bring your organ up?”

Friend: *without missing a beat* “Well, I’ll try, but at my age it might take a few minutes.”

(Several minutes of expensive rehearsal time was wasted as the whole orchestra cracked up.)

Has Their Own A-Gender

| MD, USA | Learning | December 6, 2015

(We are in orchestra class, planning who will sleep where for our anticipated three-day trip to New York. It should be noted that my best friend is male, and we have a substitute teacher this day. The substitute today is particularly medieval, and it should be also noted my best friend has an extremely sarcastic sense of humor.)

Substitute: “So,” *points at me* “Who will be sleeping in the room with you?”

Me: “[Best Friend], [Female Friend #1], and [Female Friend #2].”

Substitute: “What?!” *visibly shocked* “Men and women such as yourselves should not be sleeping together!”

Me: “Well, we won’t actually be… you know… sleeping together.”

Substitute: *actually fanning herself* “That is not God’s will. You two aren’t married. I won’t permit you to share a room!”

Best Friend: “I totally understand, ma’am. Though, seeing as I’m gay, maybe it’d be safer sharing a room with [My Name].”

Substitute: *growing red* “Your lifestyle will send you to Hell! Get out of my classroom!”

Best Friend: *visibly annoyed* “I won’t be kicked out of this classroom for my sexual orientation, ma’am. And I will be sharing a room with [My Name], because it’s not your decision and [Orchestra Teacher] already approved it. You know I can get you fired for discrimination, right?”

Substitute: *looks like is about to vomit* “GET OUT! GET OUT! GET OUT! I’m going to the principal about this!”

(She was a particularly witchy woman, and it was the best thing ever when we found out she had been fired. That kind of discrimination doesn’t fly with us! Good riddance, lady!)

Death To The Derrière

, | TX, USA | Learning | July 14, 2015

(It is during the annual UIL (University Interscholastic League) contest. As a requirement, all orchestras have to play three pieces for the concert portion of said contest. One of the pieces being performed by my group is called “Ase’s (pronounced ‘Ace’s’) Death”. As per contest rules, an announcer announces the pieces we are playing before we begin. However…)

Announcer: “Today, the [My School] orchestra will be playing [Piece #1], Asses’ Death by Grieg, and [Piece #3].

(I wonder if the announcer noticed some of the students snickering at that unfortunate mispronunciation.)

Whistle While You Should Work

| Boston, MA, USA | Learning | June 11, 2015

(I’m playing first chair, second violin in my sophomore year of high school. During one rehearsal, the conductor is auditioning people for the violin solo in a Tchaikovsky serenade. She has us play over and over while some students play the 2-minute solo.)

Conductor: “Okay, start from three measures before the entrance and I’ll cut you off…”

(She doesn’t call on the next interested soloist, so no one comes in at that point. On a whim, I whistle the whole thing while playing my own part. Two minutes later…)

Conductor: “That was lovely, but who missed their cue for the solo?”

Me: “You forgot to ask anyone to play it last time.”

Conductor: *turning to first violinists* “Okay, [Name] is next. If you don’t do better, I’m giving the solo to our whistler over here.”

A Noteworthy Point

| Houston, TX, USA | Learning | October 28, 2014

(I am in a community youth orchestra and we have just finished running through a new piece.)

Conductor: “So this will be the hardest piece on the program. You’ll have to practice. Make sure you play all the wrong notes—”

(The orchestra erupts into laughter.)

Conductor: “The RIGHT notes! You played the wrong notes just fine…”