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Emily Grossman

September 22, 2005 at 7:47 PM


I was unusually calm the morning preceding the concert. Our ensemble partook in the routine drive-through-coffee-stand mocha, and then it was off to the church to practice. I loosened up with some oneing scales and arpeggios, absentmindedly observing the contents of the Sunday school room: the basket of crayons, the miniature chairs and pink chalk, the ten commandments with funny, thought-provoking illustrations posted on the wall. Suddenly, something caught my eye, right there on the A string--a little shiny spot, like a chip in the metal. I halted mid-scale to inspect, my stomach sinking. After just three weeks, it was unraveling right when I needed it most! Quickly, I fumbled through my case, only to confirm what I already knew to be true. My last set I removed and tucked away for a backup had no A either, for it had unwound in the same fashion. I’d ordered another set, but it didn’t arrive before I left. I had no A. No A, no store, no way to ship something immediately, no back up violin, no way to play on that string like it is...

I recalled the ten commandments didn’t say anything about a couple of cuss words.

After a few laps around the lobby and in and out of the sanctuary, I collected myself and began to think. There’s always a solution. After all there was that story about Perlman playing a concert with a missing string. Is that story true? Doesn’t matter, anyway, I can’t pull a Perlman today. What else? ...Andy. That was his name. Where’s a phone book? I dashed to the secretary’s office.

Moments later, I had him on the line. “Andy, anything you can give me will be great, if you have a single A string anywhere in your house.”

“Let me go look.” He was off, and I waited on the other end of the line as he searched his house. What would it be, what would it be?

“Okay, I got this set I never used because the E had a loop end. It says they’re called Dominant. Is that okay?” Okay? Perfect! I couldn’t believe my luck. He was on his way, and I rejoiced in the secretary’s office.

Before I knew it, I was greeting him at the door and we were swapping out the faulty string. And what do you know, I broke the E string while I was replacing the A! How exciting, that I would be playing the evening concert on two fresh strings. It’s good to live life on the edge every once in a while.

I’ll be sending Andy a new set of Dominants (perhaps tweaked a bit with a silver D and Jargar E-- heavy gauge). But how could I ever really thank him enough for saving my neck like that? He wouldn’t even be able to attend the concert.

“Got a few minutes, Andy? Let me play for you.”

From Pauline Lerner
Posted on September 23, 2005 at 2:27 AM
Emily, you can add "great storyteller" to your list of accomplishments. You had me on the edge of my seat until I got to the end. What a beautiful ending! Playing music and sharing music are, perhaps, the greatest gifts of all.

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