Monday, April 25, 2011

Ring Yer Bells

Wholesome Entertainment from Northern Bitter-Clingers

See, you don't need MTV or Simon Cowell to find good music!

This reminds of a practical joke someone played on me, but good!

When we lived in Valdez, Alaska, I joined a bell choir one Christmas. I am NOT musical but aspired to be. Can't sing. Don't play an instrument but not from lack of trying, so when I was asked if I'd like to do this, I JUMPED at it.

Now, I KNEW we were going to be performing on stage in front of an audience, but a bell choir is large and I figured with all these people around me, no one would be focusing me specifically, so I was marginally okay with the notion of being on display.

We practiced several times a week for over a month and all I had to do was read the notes and know when to chime one or the other of the two bells I held. One in each hand. I can do this! I can read music, no problem. I was punctual, and persistent. I showed up, in dress for the final rehearsal and even threw on make-up for the show.

We were introduced to the audience, marched out to our places, picked up our bells and stood ready. The conductor raised her wand, the music started (it was a very familiar Christmas carol) and when we got to the part where one of my bells was needed, I let out the chime, all smug and happy, and promptly hit a sour note.

You know that feel you get when you trip over something so nondescript as a sidewalk that is only slightly uneven? You stumble and look behind you as though to confirm it was unnoticeable and you really are more graceful than that? It all happens in a heartbeat and you hope no-one noticed? Someone always does. You never do these sorts of humanly things unobserved.

I rang that bell and out came a clonker of a note and I knew immediately something was wrong but to be absolutely certain, the note came again just a few measures over and I rang it once more before I realized; my bells had been switched. The person who laid them out had them reversed. And everyone noticed.

And that was my first and last time on stage.

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