At a certain age, human mentality changes, in much the way our synapses and mental processes change when we slip from childhood into adolescence. Moving from our prime years into the golden ages, a lot of us revert to our childhoods. Kitsch becomes art. We get all gushy over velvet paintings of deer and little girls with big, doughy eyes. Jokes about farting turtles become the most hilarious quips ever concocted. Everything must be written down and arranged just-so to avoid forgetting something in the mix.
It does not happen to all of us. It does happen to a lot of us, and though the four us who were brought together for a one-time performance of a single song fall into the same age group, I suspect two of my bandmates of “old-age sentimentality.”
The Oregon State University Orchestra will perform an anthology of pieces from the Harry Potter movies. “Hogwort’s Hoedown” occurs in the middle of the performance—a very quick ditty—only three minutes long—written around three chords that fit well into a bluegrass motif (inasmuch as an orchestra can play bluegrass, hence the need for our little band). The OSU Music Department recruited two of my bandmates. My other bandmate and I were recruited by them.
We have practiced three days for twenty lousy measures, the last ten measures identical to the first ten, just modulated from A Major to D Major. Midway through the song, we have a twenty-measure break where the orchestra does orchestra stuff, so my bandmates thought it would be fun to choreograph some “good old fashioned dance steps” to fill-in our “down” time.
(Kind of creepy)
For Pete’s sake. Two of my bandmates can’t agree on the moves. One of them wants to make sure not to turn in such a way to not be seen by the audience. And, “don’t you think it’s spectacular that we’re being asked to do this?”
Sweetheart, it ain’t a payin’ gig. It’s just a forgettable, three-minute tune, forty-five seconds of which we don’t even play—just move around like geriatric zombies. The mic was dead during dress rehearsal (sound guys couldn’t figure it out), so it will most likely be dead during the actual performance, thus no one in the theater will hear anything but the banjo and the pennywhistle (and what’s a pennywhistle doing in a bluegrass hoedown, anyway? Oh, right, she’s a bandmate’s wife).
We have been asked to proceed stage-front as quickly as possible, ready to play immediately upon arriving at our X’s on the floor. The moment the song ends, we have been asked to remove ourselves “orderly” and “quietly” from the stage, as quickly as possible—no time for taking bows, accepting roses from the audience… .
Harry Potter and bluegrass? I somehow got roped into someone’s old-age sentimental journey.
Please don’t tell anyone about this.
(Even more creepy)