Ever Have One Of Those Gigs....

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by trickg, Aug 24, 2014.

  1. Lawler Bb

    Lawler Bb Piano User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Milwaukee, WI
    I posted this on TH a while back...........good stuff!

    How about the time I counted in Trumpet Tune only to have the organist play the first two bars in the wrong key, then drop out for a goodly while. Luckily, I had enough wits about me to keep going solo while there were papers, dust, and smoke flying around the organ console. Finally, at some point towards the end of second statement of the opening theme the organ came back to life. In the right key.

    No one ever noticed.

    Or, the time when I was playing the processional at Rockefeller Chapel (on campus at University of Chicago) the ushers, who were unrolling the isle runner for the bride, discovered halfway to the altar that it was a little too short. Like halfway down the isle too short. We must have repeated the processional ten or twelve times when the organist (Thomas Weisflog) leaned over and yelled to me "sit out the next time through". I obliged. He then proceeded to play about 20 minutes of an improvised "theme and variations" of the processional in about 8 or 9 different keys, all the while the ushers were milling about like a circus act. Finally, another runner appeared and made its way forward to the altar. By this time the organist had shifted from 4th to 5th gear and was starting to get wound up a bit. That great organ was SINGING. I told him it looked like we were about ready to continue. He nodded and started his last variation. After modulating his way through 3 keys, he came to an almost earth-moving cadence, pulled out another 10 or 15 stops, gave me a nod, and we were off! I've never played a louder or longer processional in my life. Several people commented after the ceremony that they had "never heard a processional like that before". No kidding.
  2. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    I had one when I was in the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps for the finale sequence of the "Spirit Of America" show that was interesting.

    There's a bit of a setup in the explanation of this, so bear with me. For the show, I think we had 46 folks on the floor, but for the finale, we didn't need that many so there was an informal "roster" (i.e., word of mouth) for the people who didn't have to do the finale - something like 3 buglers and 3 fifers, and a drummer or two, or something like that.

    For the finale sequence, the Pershing's Own ceremonial band was on the floor at a 4 step interval rather than 2, with 6 files running down the floor, (If you don't know rank/file - look it up. :D) and the FDC would march out with 5 files, splitting Pershing's own so that we were intermixed into their formation. Ok, got it?

    During the march-on for the finale sequence, everything is a major nut-roll in the chute, and we only really get into correct position a step or two before we go through the opening and get out under the lights, and no one really knows where they are going to be, so we're all kind of jockying for position, finally getting it together, right before we get out into the view of 12-15 thousand people in the arena.

    So, keeping that set up in mind, as we're shuffling our way to the chute opening, I keep saying to my section leader (name changed to protect the clueless) who appears to be out of place right in front of me, "John, you're in my slot. John...you're in my slot. JOHN, YOU'RE IN MY SLOT!!!!" To no avail - not sure if he didn't hear me or what, but onward we shuffled, figuring things out, heading for the threshold of the chute.

    It was about the time I stepped out into the lights that I realized that there was one too many buglers on the floor, and that one too many was me. John wasn't in my slot - I didn't have a slot.


    At this point I'm wondering, "what in the heck am I going to do?" I was on the left side of the formation, so I gave thought to cutting hard to the left and ducking back to one of the side chutes, but that still left me with 15 steps or so out in the open, cutting back at a hard angle where my angled motion would be highly visible due to being in direct contrast with everything else that was moving straight up the floor. That was no good, but my problem still wasn't solved.

    Then I remembered - Pershing's Own had one more rank on the floor than we did - a lone rank of Sousaphones. Keep in mind that up until the point I realized that I was the odd man out, I was still trying to slide into the slot occupied by my section leader, John. So, I dropped back and stopped between two Sousaphone players at the left part of the formation, and did my best to not look out of place during the rest of the finale sequence.

    It must have worked because NO ONE NOTICED. The Head Shed of the FDC used to watch us like a hawk, happy to point out any marching or instrument manual mistake, and quick to point out alignment issues during the show, but they completely failed to see that we had an extra person on the floor for the whole finale sequence - a lone bugler in a rank of Sousaphones.

    As for my section leader "John," he failed to communicate to me that I was off of that particular finale sequence, which was what caused that fiasco in the first place. :bash:
  3. neal085

    neal085 Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 6, 2012
    Ft. Worth, TX
    So I don't gig, but I played a duet with my uncle at a church function over the Labor Day weekend - a single song, very simple. I didn't have sheet music for my part, so was playing it from memory.

    In the second stanza, I got lost and couldn't find myself for about 78 hours (actually for the duration of about 5-6 very discordant notes).

    On the bright side, I thought my tone and articulation were right where I wanted them. Oddly enough, I didn't even feel that embarrassed - just made a mental note for next time:

    Either use music, or spend more time memorizing the friggin' part.

    Another bright spot was that a friend of mine from out of town came up to me afterwards and said, "Hey, I didn't know you played trumpet." Turns out he played through high school and college and had been thinking about picking it up again, and after we talked for a bit, he told me he was going to get a horn. He's supposed to be back in town in December, and I told him I was going to hold him to it.
  4. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    By my definition, that's a gig. You played in public in front of people - whether or not you got paid, and the fact that it was just a single tune is beside the point.

    Memory bobbles are interesting because they can strike at the oddest times, and can manifest for no apparent reason. As a trumpet player, I'm almost always using music, but as a singer they crop up from time to time. I was singing "Brown Eyed Girl" at a gig one night, and got all the way through the "first" verse when all of a sudden I realized I'd opened with the second verse. Don't know why - I'd performed that song well over 100 times by that point in my history with the band, so I have no idea why it popped up like that.

    The thing with "Happy" a the gig a couple of weeks ago was interesting. It's a new song for both me and the band, but I've still done it about a dozen times at this point. What I found to be interesting was that when I was reviewing it later, I still had a mental block on the lyrics of the first verse, and it was like I had to relearn it.

    After so many years of gigging, the conclusion that I've come to is that when you gig like I do - multiple bands, trumpet, drums and vocals, and with an extensive song list of literally hundreds of pieces of music - it's not about having a perfect performance, it's about the ability to roll with it and cover mistakes. I can understand that a player in a top-tier orchestra is shooting for a perfect performance every time, but it's a different animal than what I do, so I prepare the best I can, and just roll with it and move on when something happens.
  5. barliman2001

    barliman2001 Fortissimo User

    Jul 5, 2010
    Vienna, Austria, Europe
    A few years back, I was on one of those one-night-at-sea ferries between Amsterdam and Newcastle. Good service - nice cabins, good food and a dance hall with a six-piece live band. Normally, they are dead on time or even early; but this time (going to Newcastle) something went wrong, and Newcastle ferryport was closed. Don't ask me why - we never got any news. However, turing back was no option because Amsterdam had a port strike going on. So the captain decided to just cruise around near Newcastle. Second night aboard, the band honoured the occasion by playing "On a Slow Boat to China"... Short gasp when they announced it, then the audience roared with laughter.
  6. barliman2001

    barliman2001 Fortissimo User

    Jul 5, 2010
    Vienna, Austria, Europe
    Occasionally, things happen that give life to worn-out threads...

    Near our small town (near Vienna), there's a bigger place where they have the ruins of one of the oldest Synagogues in Europe. Built around 1100 AD it was converted into a watermill in the 1400s and since then has seen quite a number of changes to its function without much change to its architecture. At the moment, it's a storage place for the local vintage car club.

    Well, after about 150 years of discussion, the town council tumbled to it that if they bought the thing and restored it, it might not only be a good location for smaller events to be rented out for but also a tourist magnet. But as always, the money was elsewhere. So they fostered the foundation of a Synagogue Charity which in turn set up a charity concert which was to be called "Music for Christmas and Chanukka". It was to take place on a certain day in a certain church, with two local choirs, the local music school orchestra, the three church organists and a Jewish Cantor taking part.
    Posters and flyers printed, posters hung.

    First thing that happened was that the one parish choir found that so near to Christmas, most members would not be available, so they scratched.
    Second thing: The venue was declared unsafe.

    New posters and flyers.

    The replacement venue was booked for the date in question, so they changed the date.

    New stickers on the posters.

    The second choir realized that the new date collided with a big choir event in their home parish, so they scratched.

    New posters.

    The first choir then found that they would have to do most of the work, so they pulled out.

    Remaining participants - three organists, a children's orchestra and a Cantor. Who, unsurprisingly, did not want to be associated with such a bunch of, well, the word is written "eeejits" in Ireland... and pulled out.

    New posters.

    One organist got a job offer elsewhere, with immediate effect... pulled out.

    Children's orchestra pulled out.

    Heated discussion. Finally, the committee asked my wife and myself whether we could do anything... for a consideration, of course. Out of community spirit, we accepted.

    New posters (very few of them, the available money having been spent on at least four reprints...)

    Concert day. The replacement venue had a heating problem - below freezing inside, so change back to the original venue (which had been repaired in the meantime). Additional stickers to the posters.

    We did "Let the Bright Seraphim" and "Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen", with Leonore's aria from "Fidelio" and Rachel's aria from "La Juive", as well as two Loeillet pieces and Philip R Buttall's "Eclogue for Flugelhorn and Organ" - fabulous piece which Philip dedicated to me... Everything went well until the organist forgot the Da Capo in "Seraphim". Slight confusion, but the concert went on. Next piece - one of the keys on the organ console got stuck down and produced an almighty "howler" on Mixtur 3 1/4... Bach - organ gave out altogether because organist had the music on her tablet pc which she had forgotten to recharge... From that moment on, I went into trance mode. Somehow, we got through and even got a bit of applause and then fled the scene (fortunately, the organ loft has its own staircase and exit...)

    We could have stuck it out: 44 audience in a church that can seat 750... and at the end, the "consideration" agreed upon did not materialize because the donations by the audience totalled less than a quarter of the costs incurred...

    But then, it's all experience!!
  7. therealnod

    therealnod Pianissimo User

    Dec 30, 2014
    Wow guys, the worst I ever had was when, in Youth Orchestra during the performance night, the conductor cut us after the the third measure of the Marriage of Figaro overture (nothing to do with us trumpets..either of us). Never swallowed a bug. There was one time when the steak was underdone at the banquet we played.
    You guys have great stories.

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