The Alphabet Singers have been relatively nice to me this week, for which I am very thankful, since it’s been a hell of a week otherwise. Last night I decided to take some personal time, so I finally saw The King’s Speech (go see it). I made dinner, was in bed by 10, put down my book and was asleep by 11.
I woke at 8:30 and decided I wasn’t getting up just yet. At 10:17 my phone rang. It was an unfamiliar Florida number so I let it go to voicemail. I then started getting texts like crazy and wondered what the deuce everyone could want on a Saturday morning. I didn’t look at them. It had been a long enough week and could at least wait until I showered.
I finally got up around 10:40. One text was from Jeff (who will be getting a post of his own very soon) :
Jeff (10:20) I might have just sent you $? that phone call was a gig for a high schooler who needs a pianist like whoa.
Me (10:42) Oh snap thanks!
I figured he/she was doing a gig this week of some kind and needed a pianist fast. (Or maybe an audition soon.) Because that’s why high schoolers need pianists. I did laundry. I had breakfast. I showered. Around 1pm I decided I was ready to deal with it and could finally get down to business. I checked the voicemail. This is it, to the best of my memory (I have since deleted it).
Voicemail: Hi, this is Carol [or Sheryl?] Smith [possibly?] and I’m currently in the music library. My daughter is a flutist and needs an accompanimist [yep]. They said she could go in at any time. My number is xxx [pause] xxx [long pause] xx [long pause] xx. Thanks.
She sounded flustered, if not flat out desperate. And she gave me almost no information to go on, apparently assuming I knew what she knew. Which I clearly didn’t. Why are you in the music library? Where exactly was your daughter “going in?” And why at “any time?” Why not a specified time? It sounded a bit like an execution.
Then things started to click: it was apparently an audition day that I didn’t know about. Even though the last one was two weeks ago and they’re usually about a month apart? Either way. And of course it’s a mother calling, because high schoolers don’t call. And of course she couldn’t say “accompanist” or “pianist” because she’s probably never had to, and probably never seen it in print, and pianists are third-class citizens. But don’t they have pianists hired specifically for audition days? People to sit in the audition room and sightread music? What is going on?
I called and left her a voicemail, something to the effect of:
Me: Hi, this is Liz Remizowski, you called me earlier about playing for your daughter. Sorry I didn’t get the message until now. If you’re still interested I will be around the school most of the rest of the day, so just give me a call at xxx-xxx-xxxx. Thanks.
I figured it was too late by then, but what could I do. Approaching the school, the traffic jam in the parking garage confirmed that something was happening – not to mention the amount of alternately awkward/overzealous children dressed uncomfortably. I drew lots of stares from parents, with my Saranac sweatshirt, Birkenstocks, Starbucks, still-wet hair, and au naturel countenance. Yes, this is what a real college musician looks like on a Saturday.
In the library I found out today was not audition day, but “solo and ensemble day” or something to that effect, which I equated to Florida’s version of NYSSMA. Which I always try to avoid at all costs.
I never got a call back from anyone. Which at that point, I pretty much expected. But I still want to know – how do you go to a solo festival knowing you’ll need a pianist and not have one arranged somehow beforehand? Either make sure the school is providing one, your high school is providing one, or get one yourself. How does this happen?