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Cacophony

It was a lovely day as the Singers trickled in for rehearsal. There was a certain urgency in their movements for a concert was in the offing and there was not a moment to lose. The ladies strode with purpose in their high-heeled shoes and ankle-length gowns. The men straightened their blazers and cleared their throats, taking deep breaths in anticipation.

The Conductor was already there, of course, tall and debonair in a black-and-white tux. The Accompanist was seated at the piano, skilled fingers at the ready, The room buzzed with chatter as the Singers greeted one another and gossiped about the past week. It took several tries before the Conductor managed to shush them. To begin, he led them down scales to notes so low the Basses groaned and up to notes so high even the Sopranos lost their voices.

Once everyone was seated, he had them pull out their books and turn to their solo piece. They started out strong, eyes moving from the page to the Conductor to follow his hands. But slowly, one by one, heads sank lower and lower. Timing became a thing of the past and voices were raised to forte rather than the indicated piano. The Sopranos shrieked with earsplitting glee, the Basses bellowed in an effort to drown them out. The Tenors’ voices cracked as they sang higher and higher just to be heard and the Altos completely lost their places.

The Ss were hissed, the Ks were dropped and the Ts just stuttered along. The Conductor stared in horror as months of practice and preparation vanished in an instant. He rent his hair and covered his ears until he couldn’t stand it any longer.

“SILENCE!”

The cacophony faded and and one by one, heads that had been buried in between pages came up to look at him.

His face turned purple as he ranted and raged. “Keep your Ss short or leave them off! Enunciate, if you please, no stuttering! Piano means soft, not shout! A whole note is held for four beats, not one! Sopranos, don’t screech! Tenors, just because they are doing it doesn’t mean you should! Basses, quiet down, no need to roar! Altos, please keep up! And above all, WATCH ME! I will show you what to do if only you PAY ATTENTION!”

Feeling like a teacher with a class of unruly second-graders, he mopped his brow and took a deep breath. The Singers cringed, shrinking into their seats.

“Now, shall we begin again?”

At the concert that night the Singers stood on the stage, straight and strong with music in hand. The Accompanist began, the Conductor’s hands keeping them quiet before motioning them into song. Every note was precise, every word clear. The Ss came fast and sharp and the song faded to piano perfectly on cue; every eye was fixed on the Conductor. The song ended on a jubilant chord, held for four beats exactly. As the echoes died away the audience applauded, awarding them a standing ovation. However, the Singers didn’t dare relax until they saw the smile of approval on their Conductor’s face.

Fin.




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