‘Twas the Night Before the Concert
‘Twas the night before the concert, when all through the hall
not a note was sounded, not even a trumpet call.
The reeds were tucked into their case, the best one first
in hopes that the best would not become worst.
The musicians were tossing all night in their beds,
nightmares of squeaks and wrong notes danced in their heads.
And Director in his tux, and I in my tails,
had just scrambled our brains after squeaks and wails.
When out in the greenroom there came such a noise
I sprang from my chair trying to keep my poise.
Across the stage I ran like a jet,
Opened the door to the strangest sight yet!
The spit on the tile of the new-polished floor
Showed the germs of woodwinds from hours before,
when, what to my horrified eyes should see in the salon,
but a leather-bound score and wooden baton.
With a pompous old man, so hoity and slow,
I knew in a moment it must be the maestro!
More obedient than dogs, his sections they came,
as he raised his arms and cued them by name:
“Now Cellos! Now Trumpet!
Now, Bassoon and Tuba!
On, Flautists! On, Basses!
On, Drummers and Harpists!
To the top of the score!
Now play away! Play away!
Play you all!”
As notes sound and vibrate their power,
when they met an obstacle just played louder!
So through the symphony they rehearsed
while the maestro critiqued and blood vessels burst.
And then, in a raucous, I heard on the stage
the mumblings and grumblings of muted rage
As I drew in my head and was turning around,
down the stairs the maestro came with a bound.
He was dressed in all black, from his head to his heel,
his brow glistened with sweat, how important he must feel!
A bundle of scores he had flung into his pack,
and he looked like a pitbull ready to attack.
His eyes – how they watched you! His scowl, how frightening!
His cheeks were like roses, his temper quick as lightning!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
and his baton ready to conduct any tempo.
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his lips,
Ready to chastise any memory slips.
He had a thin face and no sign of a belly,
his arms raised all day, I’m sure his pits were quite smelly!
He was narrow and tall, a mean scary old bloke,
and I cringed when I saw him, a lowly musician folk.
A raise of his brow and a cue from his hand
soon made me wish that I was still in a band.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his score,
and filled it with markings, then turned on the count of four.
And moving his hands back down by his side,
and giving a cue, out he went to catch his ride.
He climbed in a taxi, to the cabbie gave a nod,
And away they both went – should I applaud?
But I heard him exclaim, as he drove out of view,
“Don’t miss your entrance, otherwise we’ll replace you!”