Concert Heck This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   It was a humid Friday afternoon inthe large hall of the Roosevelt school cafeteria. The many voices of the audiencefilled the room, giving it a suspenseful feel. It was my day to shine, to be onstage in front of the eyes of dozens while playing my rickety old violin.Thoughts of rejection and fear raced through my mind, but nothing I could do atthat point could change the fate I was dealt. For the first time in my existenceI would be in front of a terrifying audience. To be judged? Yes. To behumiliated? Maybe.

Yup, my very first year of actually learning how toplay the piece of wood and there I was, ready to go up and perform in front of agroup of people. I knew I shouldn't have too much fear because I was afirst-year, fifth-grade violinist. The expectations placed on me weren't as highas if I were a high-school student with years of experience. But some of thesespectators were related to me, like my mom and dad, both with ears waiting to bepleased. The last thing I wanted was to see them gritting their teeth andgrimacing in utter terror from my mistakes. Pres-sure was building in my body. Iwas sweating, I was sticky, and I was shaking uncontrollably as if I were havinga seizure. I felt horrible.

Minutes before the concert began, my heart waspumping like there was no tomorrow. My partner and I were making last-minutepreparations, getting our instruments prepped. I bet he was nervous as heck, likeme, but he didn't show it.

"Hey, Edward," I said in a doubtfulvoice. "So, ummm, it's a pretty big crowd."

"Sure is,"Edward replied in a cocky tone. "I think we can do it, though, noproblem."

Something inside me went crazy when he said that. I mean,how could someone in my position not be nervous? He could have at least tried alittle harder to comfort me in my time of fear. That's what friends do. I justwished I could view the concert the same way he did. A calm mentality would havehelped a great deal.

"Ba-Ba Black Sheep" was our piece. Pieceof cake, you say? Not at the time. I was a first-year amateur so this musicseemed equal to Bach's Branden-burg Concerto.

"Jose and Edward,you're up. Good luck!" Mrs. Bissell, our music teacher, said.

Edward and I exchanged a brief Oh my God, here we go look and walked to ourplaces. I suddenly realized that I had never been on a stage or under spotlightsbefore. A weird feeling came over me. I had seen other performers on the creakyfloorboards doing their routines but now it was my turn; now it was me behind thecurtains.

I was given the signal to get ready from Mrs. Bissell. My feetand hands were moving erratically. I felt like I could have died right then andthere. The lights shone brightly down on my shiny forehead, making it unbearablyhot in my all-black attire. I sat, got into playing position, and waited for thecurtain to go up.

"And now I'm proud to present Edward and Jose doinga duet of 'Ba-Ba-Black Sheep.'"

A round of applause roared and echoedthrough the room. And then dead silence. The shift from one extreme to the otherwas eerie. The curtain rose slowly and a sight to remember revealed itself.Pillars of fading light shone through the doors and overhead windows. Theaudience's eyes were all fixed on me, and my partner. The crowd's gaze mesmerizedme and from that point on I knew that everyone that day, in my world, wasconcentrating on what I did.

My performance was a blur after that. All Iremember is that it wasn't good. I recall making several high-pitched mistakesthat pierced the ear. It was extremely noticeable because of the obvious factthat there was only me and my friend playing. It was a terrible experience, onethat should be forgotten.

And, as for my parents, they were satisfied withhow I did, or so they said. I guess they realized that no one is ever reallyperfect. Even though the whole incident didn't end the way I'd hoped, I was stillhappy. My experience would be one I would never forget (sadly). I can't remembermy fifth performance, my fourth performance, or my third performance, but thatfirst one will forever be ingrained somewhere in the recesses of mymind.

"Hey, Edward?"

"What, Jose?" heanswered.

"Would you forget about this incident if you had thechance?"

"It'd be best if we never talked about itagain."

"Ummm ... yeah."

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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