You know, I used to have a band teacher in High School that said his idea of hell was being stuck in a room full of banjos that couldn't be played in tune. Yeah, that would be pretty horrrible. (Yes, I just added an extra “r” for dramatic emphasis) And for eternity? Uh, no thanks. Toss me into the brimstone please.
The last time I went to an orchestra concert was probably four or five years ago. Maybe longer now that I think about it. A friend of mine was performing and didn't think her family was going to come, so she invited a bunch of us. I figured, what the heck, it'll be fun.
Yeah, uh, a Junior High orchestra concert, as I found out, can be just as bad as room full of those aforementioned banjos. Especially when they're trying to squeak out Phantom of the Opera.
Let that sink in. Imagine it. Now make it at least five times as bad as you can imagine. Then take it a half step sharp. Now you've got it. My ears were bleeding, and I couldn't listen to Phantom of the Opera for months without flinching.
Tonight I took the life of my eardrums in my own hands (how that works—ears, drums, hands—I'm not sure) and returned to the arena of junior high orchestra concerts.
My niece is in the intermediate orchestra (aka the 7th grade orchestra). I actually know her teacher. So I figured I should go. Since I finally got invited to one of her concerts.
I entered the gym with a great deal of trepidation. I didn't bring ear plugs (not appropriate when sitting, surrounded by parents of the orchestra members) so I steeled myself for the worst.
I'm happy to report that it wasn't that bad. The 6th grade orchestra was better than the musical murderers from all those years ago. They did drift out of tune by the last song, but it wasn't terrible. My niece's orchestra did well. Their Irish jig was fun, and I didn't flinch but once. The advanced orchestra was good. Their last song was really good. I could tell because the teacher, an extremely non-excitable woman, was actually bouncing on the podium.
So my ears are okay. It wasn't that bad. Whew!