I said, "no." I felt for the contractor, having to find someone under that kind of pressure, but there was no way I could have fit it into my already too-tight schedule.
I later found out that, had I said "yes," I'd have been placed in the front of the (rather small) first violins, next to a concertmaster who'd never played concertmaster for that group, right in front of a conductor who was tearing his hair out and screaming at people. In particular, at the first violins.
Sometimes "no" is a beautiful word.
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