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Emily Grossman

First Impressions, Second Guessing

August 15, 2012 at 11:24 PM

The day that Michael showed up to our rehearsal had already been full of mishaps and hurriedness. Running late and wound up like a top. I took my seat, which was way too far away from the stand, and quickly tried to settle in without drawing attention to myself. The room, unheated, provided rather frigid conditions, and no one wanted to take off their coats. Another violist, Susie, would be sitting second chair, putting Michael in the back. Obviously, the best thing to do would be to scoot my chair over my coffee cup and spill it all over the floor. The next thing I knew, I was running back and forth with a roll of paper towels, and Michael hurried to scoot belongings out of harm's path. Together, the two of us worked to mop up the mess. Hello, Michael Avagliano. I'm Emily Grossman. I spill coffee for a living.

Needless to say, I played like crap. What happened to those hours of practice? Feeble phrasing, dodgy pitches, and complete lack of focus plagued me, and I couldn't shake it to save my life. After the first half of our rehearsal, we took an intermission.

Snacks waited for everyone in the break room, and I'd brought chocolate chip cookies left over from our summer camp's lunch. Seeing as how I had this toxic mushroom cloud over my head, I thought it best to avoid contaminating others with fallout. For half an hour, I found discreet ways to avoid chit-chat: knitting another row on my sock, heading to the restroom, again, fascinating myself with another carrot stick... After a bit, I headed back to my seat to tune up for the next session.

Michael was munching on one of my cookies. I hit an A. Slightly flat.

"Did you make theses cookies?" I glanced up. Our eyes met. I saw dark chocolate.

"Yes." Sheepishly.

Cradling the other half of his cookie ever so gingerly, he sighed, "They're soooo good!"

Melting a little inside, I broke a smile. "Thanks."


From Anne-Marie Proulx
Posted on August 15, 2012 at 11:41 PM
Cute story :)

No matter how famous they are... musicians usually like to eat (from what I saw and know)!

From Elinor Estepa
Posted on August 16, 2012 at 12:09 AM
great blog!
You two have met before, have you?
Anyway, have fun and best of luck!
From Tom Holzman
Posted on August 16, 2012 at 4:24 PM
Loved it! You almost managed to embody Murphy's Law. Nowhere to go but up from that rehearsal.

Your story did remind of a funny one I heard about the composer Anton Reicha, who was a contemporary of Beethoven. If I recall, he was in his teens when a symphony of his was premiered, and he was conducting (Beethoven was a violist in the orch). Reicha was busy before the performance running around in the orchestra trying to make sure everything was in place. His efforts and clumsiness in doing so created havoc. Among other things, he caused the bassoonist to swallow his mouthpiece, and he tore the bridge off Beethoven's viola. So, take heart.

From Emily Grossman
Posted on August 16, 2012 at 8:26 PM
Great story, Tom, and I love your positive outlook!
From Tom Bop
Posted on August 17, 2012 at 12:41 AM
"Our eyes met. I saw dark chocolate."

Ok, in contention for best two sentences ever written...

From Christina C.
Posted on August 20, 2012 at 4:32 PM
as far as musicians are concerned, homemade baked goods right all wrongs. Booze helps too.

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