Monday, April 12, 2004

Train crossing

The hand bells played for church yesterday. Got there at 8:30 and rehearsed our song about a half dozen times. It was mostly not too tough, but there were a couple of spots that had some runs that we worked on. A run is a series of sequential notes, kind of like a scale, but not necessarily containing every note. And with hand bells, when you have a run, it might take four or five (or eight) different people to complete it, so it can present some difficulties, especially if folks aren't counting like they're supposed to and relying on hearing the note before theirs to know when to come in. When you do it by ear, it only works when the previous person plays their note when they're supposed to.

So, the piece we were doing had a nine measure introduction before actually starting the familiar part of the song. Measure one was a whole note, measure two had quarter notes and measures three through nine had runs of increasing complexity, starting off with just a couple people playing and ending with just about everybody playing. Never had a problem with this part of the song in rehearsal. But...

I had two notes in measure two and then nothing until the upbeat for measure five (and then I had a bunch of notes). Measure three was a disaster, with only about half the notes being played and some of those in the wrong spots. Measure four was worse. It was almost to the point where we were going to have to stop and try again (the bane of any musician). Oh, well, I thought and just started in where I was supposed to. Somehow, by measure six, enough folks were on track that it didn't sound too bad. And by the time the introduction was over in measure nine, everybody was together for the verse in measure ten. The rest of the song went off without a hitch. Train wreck avoided.

The director told me afterwards that if I hadn't come in when I did, he was ready to stop and start over. As it was, though, there were probably only a handful of people (other than those playing bells) who had any idea how close we had come to a disaster. (Well, ok, maybe not a DISASTER, but an embarrassing moment nonetheless.)

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