I plop down into the chair next to her, the first rehearsal of the new season already well on the way. She is studying the Orchestra Handbook, slowly turning page after page. I am trying to catch up on my morning pages even though it’s late afternoon.
The screeching cacophony grating my ears makes it hard to focus. I shake my head in futile attempt to shake off the noise.
Good grief, they sound horrible!, escapes me louder than I wanted.
The look on her face indicates that she must be unaccustomed to hearing the ugly un-sanitized truth from the mouth of complete strangers.
We are new here… She forces a smile, but it is obvious that there is more to this unfinished sentence left hanging in mid-air between us.
Oh! That’s wonderful! I am genuinely happy to meet a new face. Welcome to MAYS. We are so glad you are here!
But I get a sense that the same sentiment isn’t quite reciprocated. It’s more like,
Oh, my goodness! What have we gotten ourselves into?!!!
I lean back in my chair, breathe in and breathe out.
Don’t worry about it. It’s always like this on the first day. They sound like a bunch of riff-raffs dragging a horse tail over some rusty wires attached to a hollow wooden box. But they will get better. In fact, by the time the concert comes around, you won’t even recognize them, they’ll be so good. It's like turning a musical massacre into a masterpiece.
Her eyes pop wide open,
A mixture of disbelief, hope and relief light up her face like Forth-of-July fireworks.
Now, it’s my turn to feel out-of-place. For I am rarely the one to instill hope into a seemingly hopeless situation.
Hope is an ill-fitting coat rarely worn by this glass-half-empty grouch.
A four-letter word rarely escaping the lips of this seasoned cynic.
But, this time, it burst out, almost against my will, like a geyser of living water.
For I know what I’ve seen and heard.
Absolutely! I have no idea how Mrs. M does it, but she does it every time. I’ve watched her do her magic with these kids year after year after year. They start a total mess, each doing their own thing, but by the time the concert rolls around they are transformed… this screeching noise becomes soul-stirring music even Mozart would be proud of. You’ll see it for yourself…
We try to go back - she to her Handbook and I to my notebook, but we both sense the tickles of a tiny seed germinating inside which pulls our attention towards those riff-raffs of our kids with their eyes glued on Mrs. M.
For some reason their intolerable grinding doesn’t sound half as bad after all…
It's almost borderline decent!
That is, for the first day of the new season.
Perhaps there is hope after all.
For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6