Monday, September 05, 2005

Tyke Solos with Symphony!

Well, it just goes to show that you never know where your kids' talents might lie. We got an unexpected hint this evening, for instance.

On Labor Day, our town has a free public concert on the "front patio," actually the lawn that separates the Town Hall from the Police building. We hadn't heard about it in previous years, but this time G's girlfriend's family sent us an e-mail about it. So we spent a couple of days planning and preparing a nice picnic, and headed out to meet them in the late afternoon.

The Hartford Pops were already underway with selections from "Fiddler on the Roof" when we arrived. Some time before intermission, Mr. Partridge, the conductor (and G's girlfriend's band director at her nearby private school) announced that he needed some special help from the audience. In the second half of the program, they were going to perform a medley of selections from "The Phantom of the Opera." During intermission, he said, he needed a bunch of kids to come behind the bandstand and audition for . . . SCREAM soloist.

Since G's girlfriend, S, knew the conductor, she decided she'd head over there and see what was going on. And the Tyke decided he'd go. This was hilarious. All through intermission you heard one blood-curdling scream after another. A few miutes after leaving, S came back, but without the tyke. She came back with some friends, one of whom was the conductor's daughter. S's dad said, "What'd you do, trade him for the girls?" And she said, "No, he's staying there. Because he was the one who was picked to scream."

We were, like, "No way!"

Sure enough, he was standing on the stairs at the side of the bandstand. Then we saw him start moving as he was directed by photographers from the newspapers! His first public gig at age eight, and he gets free publicity, too!

When it was time for the "Phantom" pieces, Mr. Partridge introduced him as "our special guest soloist, **** name******." He was all serious. And they gave him his own chair in the band. He watched the conductor intently, like a professional musician, and immediately knew what to do when he got the signal to rise and come forward. Finally, the moment came, and the conductor gestured to him. He performed a perfectly pitched, harrowing scream, then sat back down. The crowd went wild with praise and applause.

It was an Andy Warhol moment.

Of all the times to FORGET the video camera. I've had it with me all summer, but today I didn't see the need. Dimbulb. Fortunately, S's parents had their digital camera and snapped a bunch--including the bow which the conductor commanded he take. When he came back to the picnic blankets, he autographed programs.

Pretty good for a kid who wasn't terribly enthused that we were going to a concert. But this is a kid who always seems to be in the right place at the right time for things.

I can see them all at school tomorrow. He'll from now on be known as **** "The Screamer" ******.

I can imagine him applying for prep school. "Does your child have any extraordinary skills we should be aware of, Mrs. ******?" "Why, yes, he was selected as Screaming Soloist with the Hartford Pops."

I knew we'd see him on stage someday, but I sort of thought it would be...playing trumpet?


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