Audacious audition

Posted by: Duane Hiatt in Commentaries Add comments

Every person’s life is worthy of a book. I hope you are writing yours, or saving and collecting the material to one day write it.

I am in the midst of mine.

For those of you who just tuned in, this is the next installment of my memoirs currently in production. The previous installments are available on my web pageduanehiatt.com I hope you find it interesting.

The book is titled, Live Long*,  Learn a Little, Laugh a Lot.

But don’t push your luck. Your guardian angel may be distracted, out to lunch or just tired of saving your bacon. About five years later in the same building of my moment of glory in the music clinic band I stood again with trumpet in hand.

I may have been the most bright eyed and bushy tailed freshman ever to skip across a college campus. Overawed, enthusiastic, naive; I wanted to major in everything, take every class in the catalogue, play every sport, perform on every assembly, join every extra curricular organization, date every girl, and even wear my freshman beanie to church.

The university concert band was on my list. I pulled my cornet out from under the bed, blew off the dust, even spent a little time reviving my lip which had grown flabby since I dropped band my senior year in high school.

I felt a little nervous, but fairly confident as I stepped into the audition room. Dr. Ralph Laycock, music professor and orchestra leader handed me a piece of music. I stumbled around the first few measures. He pulled that music away, and gave me a simpler one. A measure or two of cracked notes and stammering rhythm later he tried again; with an even easier piece. Through my brain fog the thought drifted, “This thing is going backward. The easier the music, the lousier I play.”

Finally Doctor Laycock said, “Could you play me a C scale?”

“No,” my horn answered.

My carefree cruise down the highway of music smashed head on into a semi truck full of sharps, flats, syncopations, key signatures, intervals, and polyphonies My brain and lips were road kill hamburger, my fingers and horn a pile of  twisted wreckage in the borrow pit. If Dr./Professor/Director Laycock had asked, “What is your name?” I would have had to sing, “Happy Birthday to you,” until I came to it.

He showed me to the door. Closed it then lost his composure. The laughter from him and his secretary slipped out under the door followed me down the hall, and echoed in my head and memory for a long time. In fact, writing this, decades later the sound still seeps out of my subconscious.

I next tried the marching band which performs on parades and at football half times. They were much friendlier. Their audition went like this, “Do you have an instrument?

“Yes.”

“Can you walk?”

“Yes.”

“You’re in.”

I thought, “Even for me the disgraced former third chair phenomenon, this bar seems set a little low.”

The talented guardian angel who had rescued me in the music clinic orchestra had apparently now sided with my mother saying, “If you don’t practice you will wish some day you had.”

The only keepsake I salvaged from the wreckage of my college band career was this. If I hadn’t tried, I would never have known whether I could make it. Now I know. Boy do I ever know.

Everybody I know is busy, including me.  Where are those golden years I was planning on of sitting on the back porch picking my guitar? So I will send just one little part of the book at a time. You can give it a quick read and tell me what you think if you would like.

I’ve slimmed that process down to two questions, and four strokes on the key board (six if you count “Reply” and “Send.”)

The questions are these:“A” How much did you enjoy this?

“B” How much do you think a person who doesn’t know Duane Hiatt would enjoy this?

The rating is:1. Glanced at it, printed it out and lined the bottom of the bird cage with it.

2. Sped-read it and filed it with my tax return receipts

3. Thought it was about as interesting as a well written obituary

4. Could have put it down, but didn’t want to

5. Couldn’t put it down. Put it in a magnetic frame and stuck it onto the fridge door

So your response would perhaps be A-4, B-3, (Or maybe A-5, B-5, I’m expecting a minimum number of those.)

Also feel free to add comments if you like.

Also, also, feel free to forward this material to anyone you want to.

Your next installment is: 

Every person’s life is worthy of a book. I hope you are writing yours, or saving and collecting the material to one day write it.

I am in the midst of mine.

For those of you who just tuned in, this is the next installment of my memoirs currently in production. The previous installments are available on my web pageduanehiatt.com I hope you find it interesting.

The book is titled, Live Long*,  Learn a Little, Laugh a Lot.

But don’t push your luck. Your guardian angel may be distracted, out to lunch or just tired of saving your bacon. About five years later in the same building of my moment of glory in the music clinic band I stood again with trumpet in hand.

I may have been the most bright eyed and bushy tailed freshman ever to skip across a college campus. Overawed, enthusiastic, naive; I wanted to major in everything, take every class in the catalogue, play every sport, perform on every assembly, join every extra curricular organization, date every girl, and even wear my freshman beanie to church.

The university concert band was on my list. I pulled my cornet out from under the bed, blew off the dust, even spent a little time reviving my lip which had grown flabby since I dropped band my senior year in high school.

I felt a little nervous, but fairly confident as I stepped into the audition room. Dr. Ralph Laycock, music professor and orchestra leader handed me a piece of music. I stumbled around the first few measures. He pulled that music away, and gave me a simpler one. A measure or two of cracked notes and stammering rhythm later he tried again; with an even easier piece. Through my brain fog the thought drifted, “This thing is going backward. The easier the music, the lousier I play.”

Finally Doctor Laycock said, “Could you play me a C scale?”

“No,” my horn answered.

My carefree cruise down the highway of music smashed head on into a semi truck full of sharps, flats, syncopations, key signatures, intervals, and polyphonies My brain and lips were road kill hamburger, my fingers and horn a pile of  twisted wreckage in the borrow pit. If Dr./Professor/Director Laycock had asked, “What is your name?” I would have had to sing, “Happy Birthday to you,” until I came to it.

He showed me to the door. Closed it then lost his composure. The laughter from him and his secretary slipped out under the door followed me down the hall, and echoed in my head and memory for a long time. In fact, writing this, decades later the sound still seeps out of my subconscious.

I next tried the marching band which performs on parades and at football half times. They were much friendlier. Their audition went like this, “Do you have an instrument?

“Yes.”

“Can you walk?”

“Yes.”

“You’re in.”

I thought, “Even for me the disgraced former third chair phenomenon, this bar seems set a little low.”

The talented guardian angel who had rescued me in the music clinic orchestra had apparently now sided with my mother saying, “If you don’t practice you will wish some day you had.”

The only keepsake I salvaged from the wreckage of my college band career was this. If I hadn’t tried, I would never have known whether I could make it. Now I know. Boy do I ever know.

Everybody I know is busy, including me.  Where are those golden years I was planning on of sitting on the back porch picking my guitar? So I will send just one little part of the book at a time. You can give it a quick read and tell me what you think if you would like.

I’ve slimmed that process down to two questions, and four strokes on the key board (six if you count “Reply” and “Send.”)

The questions are these:“A” How much did you enjoy this?

“B” How much do you think a person who doesn’t know Duane Hiatt would enjoy this?

The rating is:1. Glanced at it, printed it out and lined the bottom of the bird cage with it.

2. Sped-read it and filed it with my tax return receipts

3. Thought it was about as interesting as a well written obituary

4. Could have put it down, but didn’t want to

5. Couldn’t put it down. Put it in a magnetic frame and stuck it onto the fridge door

So your response would perhaps be A-4, B-3, (Or maybe A-5, B-5, I’m expecting a minimum number of those.)

Also feel free to add comments if you like.

Also, also, feel free to forward this material to anyone you want to.

Your next installment is: 

Comments are closed.