Mr. Frog conducts the Orchestra

17 11 2008

I came down with a throat infection last Monday, from which I’m still (hopefully) recovering. The cough is the worst thing – the best thing is that it’s taken my speaking voice down an octave (temporarily); I can do a neat Isaac Hayes impersonation in the bathroom mirror. Unfortunately, it’s also taken the volume down by quite a few decibels – so much so that I’m probably the only one who thinks I can do a good Isaac Hayes impersonation in the bathroom mirror (cue canned laughter).

In that state, I had to hold orchestra rehearsals last Saturday – I distinctly remember having a hard time getting out of bed: the cobwebs in my brain didn’t clear as fast as they normally do.

Anyway, let me just cut to the chase: it was a very strange (though not unpleasant) experience for me to conduct the orchestra without singing a section’s part – I’ve had to do that so often in the past (to keep the sections from derailing themselves), I guess it’s become a habit.

Since I couldn’t talk (much), I found myself “more patient” than usual – there being more time between hearing a mistake and fixing it for me to think of not only what to say but also how to say it (mostly in a low, hoarse voice) – and whatever I said, it was usually in the form of encouragement (“I’m sorry, was that too fast? Let’s take it a bit slower then.” or “Come on – we’ll try it again. You’ll get it eventually.” The result was that everyone seemed a bit more relaxed, less-fearful of incurring my wrath (there wasn’t any wrath to incur, actually), and therefore more inclined to do better.

And do better they did! We plowed through our rehearsal goals in much-less time than expected, in much better spirits to boot. I daresay there were quite a number of hair-raising moments (in a good way, of course), and I even got to work on my baton technique (from duple, to triple, to compound duple, back to triple…simple in theory, not so simple in practice).

We have a new cello, by the way: we call her Cassandra.

All in all, I walked away from the rehearsal feeling very good about the whole thing: we met our goals (in style and on time), set new ones (with only a minimal amount of whining), and most (if not all) egos intact and whole.

Maybe it’s the voice.

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