Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Graduation Hijinks (GBE 88)

When I saw Music was the assignment, I thought about being lazy and recycling Fur Elise.  But when I opened it, I realized everybody had seen that story.  So, I went back and thought it might be better if I did something from scratch.  Like a true story from my days in the high school band...

The bus pulled into the space across from the Municipal Auditorium about 9:45. Mr. Cox, the band director, stood up and told everybody to grab their gear and get into place as quickly as possible.  They wanted to keep the graduation rehearsal to ninety minutes so we would get back to the school in time for lunch.  It didn't matter to me.  I spent my lunch hour back in the band room with our pick up band.  It wasn't a bad arrangement.  There were six or seven of us that would jam to whatever we wanted to, from Broadway to Hendrix.  Anyway, I was a Junior and this

I picked up my sax case and music folder and followed the herd down the left hand stairs.  The chairs were set in the proper performance semi circle.  Mine was third row and two in from state right.  Scott, Tom and Ginny made up the rest the sax brigade  I had a crush on Ginny forever, but she never really spoke.  Tom was the leader of our section. Whenever there was a need for a bit of brass, He would get us together.

As I went through the stage door and up the stairs to get to my seat, I noticed the console of the house pipe organ stuck over in a corner. The little red light was on and Rick who played in percussion and was part of our pick up band was standing next to it. That's strange, I thought.  But I didn't pay it any attention.  I trudged out to my chair and started setting up. I look at my reed. No splits, good. Slipping the mouthpiece on to the cork neck, the attaching the neck to the body, I was ready to go. The brass felt warm today, almost as if the spirit of the instrument knew something was up.

As I was warming up, I felt an odd rumble in the floor. Eh, it's an old building. Must be the creaky air conditioner.  My instrument began to smooth out it's sound and my lungs opened up. Mr. Cox was talking to one of the English teachers who was coordinating the ceremony, working out some detail or another.  Apparently, he was satisfied and stepped on stage and up to the podium.  He tapped on his stand to get our attention, which had no effect. This irritated him no end. Finally, he gave a loud whistle and then there was silence. He stared at us for a moment just to make sure we were ready, the raised his hands to begin the opening piece when the opening bars of  The Phantom Of The Opera began to play.

Mr. Cox dropped his baton and looked at who might be missing. Everyone in the band and all the teachers were doubled over laughing.  Nobody had pranked him this bad, ever.

Finally, he screamed "Rick Tulisalo.  Get your ass out here now!".

We all gave him a standing ovation. Any detention we risked was going worth it.

After that, we settled down and finished the rehearsal. 


  1. Oh the music pranks we play in high school. Nice write!

    1. Thanks. It turned out that was the last graduation held in that building. It was sold to a local university who now use it for administration offices.

  2. My high school band was pretty boring. We never played any pranks on the teacher; however, he played a good one on us with a test that had us laughing at the wrong answer choices.


    1. Mr. Cox always appreciated a good prank and he pulled a few himself (usually during summer practice).

  3. I suspect these weren't the only band hijinks *grin* Really enjoyed reading this, and could visualise it happening.