Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Case Of The Singing Vacuum Cleaner

We interrupt your regularly scheduled peace globe post to bring you a slice of real life. Pay attention.
So there we were.

In the auditorium. Practicing for the big night of fun known as (gulp) the "classical concert" of lively music, complete with a boring Benedictus, a requiem or two, Harry Belafonte's Turn The World Around and a few peace songs thrown in for me good measure.

Have you ever tried to teach a group of 100 young singers to cut the "s" off at the same time?
It can get really ugly. Especially if the A vowel is just before the final consonant. It either sounds like profanity or The Hissing Snake Choir.
Beenn....neee....dicc....tttt....uuu...ssss (!)
This is what I hear Be-ne-dic-tooosssssssssssssssss.
Watch me!!!
Be- ne-dict-ooooooo ---------s.
Not enough.
Be -ne- diiiiiiiiick-toooooo------sssss?
Did I tell you to interject a k wiseguy?
And this time W.A.T.C.H. M.E.!!!!
Be - ne - deekahtooo..sah.
I know we're in the south but that-a-sounded-a-like-a-Baptist-ah-preacher-ah.
And on we went. Slinging our Latin s's around for about thirty rondos and a half.
I'm having a sinking feeling. And what is the cause of this distress? Flashback: Pictured above in my diva regalia just before the last concert in which Santa fell through the fireplace door (not on purpose), my baton landed in the wrong piece of music (not on purpose) and this soprano committed a few singing sins. I would take a picture for you tonight before I sail into disaster once again. But right now my hair is in jumbo yellow curlers. It just ain't a pretty sight.

Think, Mimi, think! Where are your shoes???
And why, oh why, did I decide they needed to dance in this concert?
What was I thinking??!

1 -2- 3- turn 1 -2- 3- turn.

1 -2-3 dip. 1 -2-3 turn.

What is so hard about that? Apparently they did not learn that for the standardized test prep. Which means, we're sunk.

It went something like this. "You dance old school don't ya Miss Pencil Skirt? My parents would pay good money to see you dance like that."

"Well, lucky for them we're not charging admission, Junior."

Again please.

1 -2- 3 dip. 1 -2- 3 dip. 1 - 2 - 3 dip.

1 -2- 3 Trip.

No, class. It's turn, turn, dip, turn!

Glasses on. Lecture approaching.
How many months have we been practicing this routine, singers?"Three."
How many times have I told you to dip, dip, turn, dip, class?


It's Junior again. His hand is politely raised this time.

"It's NOT dip dip turn dip. It's turn turn dip turn. "
Well, why didn't you say so in the first place? AGAIN!!
Kids these days!

So we dipped and turned and tripped and danced and laughed and had a blast (including me) until......

The noise.
Actually, it was a roar.
In the back of the room, coming closer and closer and closer......I did not see it. They are giggling and break up into laughter. I am not amused.

What IS so funny?! We have exactly four hours until you have to step on stage and you're laughing??
"There's a vacuum cleaner behind you, Miss Mimi, and we can't hear the piano."
I KNOW there's a vacuum cleaner behind me, kids, do you think I'm deaf? I was just testing you to see if you would watch ME instead of the vacuum cleaner. See? (my fingers are religiously crossed under the piano) I told you that I don't care if Dumbo the Elephant walks through the door, you just keep singing. No matter what. If I fall off the bench and down the steps, check to see if I'm breathing, step over my body and keep singing. If the vacuum cleaner interrupts rehearsal...
"Keep singing!" they chimed.
See? I taught them well.

They were not amused.


Perfect! Brava! Right!

But every time we started to sing, the cleaning lady would start the vacuum cleaner in the key of C. We were singing in F Major.

I tried to ignore it. Really I did.

Until she asked me to raise my feet so she could vacuum underneath the piano bench. Can't you see I'm a bit busy here lady? I'm pedaling as fast as I can. The singers are ssssss-ing their little brazen hearts out and I am trying not to get my pants leg sucked up in the vacuum hose. Can you picture this?

And finally, FINALLY, they execute the perfect cut-off to the end of the phrase. My Benedictus had never been happier. Nirvana. A miracle example of my exemplary teaching self perfection! Ah....silence. An echo in the house. Wonderful.
It was a moment.
Until, guessed it.
She plays a sonata in the gratingly dusty key of F minor and a half, complete with a rattling effect that doesn't suit the pianissimo perfection we were enjoying.
Thank Heavens for Junior, who God bless him, blurts out.....

"Will somebody tell the chainsaw to knock it off!"

Kids. Ya gotta love 'em.
Now. If you'll excuse me. I have to go turn dip turn turn dip in my pencil skirt.

But I'm warning you.....the first blogger to say Break a leg - it's the dungeon for you!

Film at 11.


 Copyright © Mimi Lenox. All Rights Reserved.


Sandee said...

Bwahahahahahahaha. Sorry, this post is funnier than heck. Bwhahahahahaha. I don't want anything to do with your dungeon so I'm done. Big hug. :)

Bud Weiser, WTIT said...

I already said it. When do I die?

Carver said...

Um, can I get away with break a vocal chord, eekekekekekekee, I'm running . . . Fun post Mimi.

Travis Cody said...

Perhaps a brief stay in the dungeon for the cleaning lady? I mean at least until after the performance.

Good luck with the ssssss and the trips...I mean the dips.

Mimi Lenox said...

Sandee - I'm so glad I made someone laugh today. Folks are getting a little depressed reading war stories (however necessary that is)...Thanks for the bwaaahaahaaas!

Mimi Lenox said...

Bud - Yes, you did. And lived to tell it. A reprieve for you. I think you've served enough time in the dungeon. I'll have to think of another punishment for you.....

Carver - "vocal cord break?" or vocal cHord break? Both would be appalling! Eeekkk!

Travis- Thank you. I didn't trip. No one fell down. And I survived.
Oh the things I could tell....

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