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

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   With my instrument to my lips, I await the conductor's signal. He raises his baton, and I take a deep breath. With a sudden downward sweep of his baton, the conductor starts the band.

A low rumble comes from the timpani.

I wait a few seconds, then tease a long, soft, low note from my shining trombone. I can hear the other instruments: the reedy tenor saxes, the mumbling basses, and the high, clear trumpets.

The fanfare begins softly, then swells to almost deafening proportions. We are no longer playing the instruments; they are singing. It is as if they have decided we are not competent to play the music correctly, and they will just have to do it themselves.

I am marveling at this phenomenon when the flutes and clarinets join us. The flutes whisper and the clarinets cry, as they try to make themselves heard, so as not to be embarrassed by the brasses, saxes, and drums.

With another signal from the conductor, the music suddenly dies. The clarinets and flutes who have been begging for their shot at the spotlight now will have it. With a smooth run, they take the melody, while the rest of us wait, catching our breath.

I prepare to play, nervously watching the conductor, waiting for him to cue my section. He points at us, and I play a sharp note. I wait, then I play another. Then I join the other low brass, as they play down the scale, slowly and deliberately, like a young child walking down a steep flight of stairs.

The conductor is now gesticulating furiously, giving his band hundreds of instructions each second. As a unit, it obeys him.

We are nearing the end now, and each musician is hoping the piece ends before any of us makes a mistake. The instruments, with minds of their own, are trying to make as much noise as they can before the end.

We reach the final note, which the conductor holds for what seems an eternity, as he tries to draw every ounce of sound from the magical instruments. Finally, he closes his hand, and the music stops.

The musicians exchange glances of relief as the crowd applauds. The instruments sit on our laps, silent and sullen, angry at us for stopping them. n


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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