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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Show Must Go On...

Lessons Learned…

About Being Prepared


We were fifteen minutes from show time. The cast of youngsters was well prepared and perfectly ready to shine. The adoring audience of family members and friends had trickled in and, with fresh bouquets on their laps for their after-the-show stars, these enthusiastically supportive folks were a-buzz with gleeful anticipation to finally see in context the lines they had been hearing in isolation for months. Costumes, check. Props, check. All cast present, check.  We convened the full cast backstage for our final detail check and for the “fire-up, yes-you-can, you are awesome” talk. They were set, and, now, on their own, as I left them to go to the piano to accompany their show. Just prior to the curtain opening, the mood for the performance would be established with a quick five minute overture of music from the show, while the youngsters waited excitedly in the wings with their happy toes on the starting line ready to dash into the opening scene. As I sat upon the piano bench, our light technician took the lights to black; time for the overture. In the blackness which was fully charged with expectancy, I realized there was no light on the piano. Each second of blackness weighed as an eternity on this accompanist who could not see her fingers to play the overture. Everyone waited, but only one waited in sheer panic. Overture. Now. Before anyone noticed the problem. Reaching for the keys, those familiar friends I can see in my sleep, I set my hands in relation to middle C, closed my eyes and began to play the overture. It wasn’t perfect. But it was okay. It fit the bill.  It provided the adequate and expected mood-setting opening crescendo that ushered in scene one and then the rest of the youngsters’ brilliant performance.  In the flurry of accolades, applause, photos and flowers that followed the show, no one noticed the deep sigh of relief exhaled by the accompanist who would never forget a light again.