Listen, As one Heart

jazz

Stagehands began to bring the house lights up by sliding those long electrical handles to make it brighter and safer for the departing ticket buyers.

The show was supposed to be over.

Actors had left the stage and the final curtain already had rung down.

Many of the Opera lovers had left their ticketed seats, shuffling the aisle-way.  They were probably thinking of the hordes that will be in the parking lot, bitching about gas fumes and grass lawns to cut tomorrow.

“Maybe, we can stop on the way home, for some take out?”  some might be thinking.

My high was now gone.  Our set was complete.

Time for me to put my horn away.  For me, even the smells changed in a flash. Now, they were less electric and more dirty-clothes like.

But, something still rang in the house for me  A feeling of energy, maybe a ghost of love and music, maybe God.  Maybe it was all in my head!

My feeling was like smelling maple syrup and pancakes, downstairs, on a Sunday morning, just before you wake up.

It was real, and I had to follow the smell, the urge.

The receding mob was mostly dark and gray moving like lemmings to the sea. Here a tall one, there a small broad one, but backs of the heads for sure.

I felt a need, a push, from down deep.

I reclaimed my horn, put the mouthpiece back in.

Strong breath intake, shoulders hunched forward, brain not thinking, just following my heart.

First note, High C, bending to a D#, slipping back to a bar E.

The notes reverberated in the hall, their echoes coming back to me.
The shuffling crowd turned to see what caused that sound.

My orchestra mates now had turned towards me with shock and a bit of resentment. It was like I was ruining a perfect finish to the night.

The director gives me the “What the hell?  Stop it!” eye, that I did not see at that moment.

The echoes died, followed by two beats of silence.

Then I started a Blues beat, for a couple of measures.  My old buddy Ron joined in on bass, following my blues run with a funky bottom!

Ba rumpa, ba, ba, rumpa, bada bada rumpa.

Timmy,  the sax player joins in one measure after Ron, following straight on my Bb chord and Ron’s rhythm.

The trap drummer follows Ron’s line, adds in dashes of cymbals, following his beats on his kick bass drum.

Fender Guitar, dirty blond hair guy, began thumping and pulling on his strings to bring it out to shine on the rhythm.

Now, five bars in the entire orchestra is in, and in time, ripping, and following, while the director’s eyes finally say, “oh what the hell”?

She swings her baton and begins to direct the music chaos she now finds herself in, but she feels so much better back in control of the plane diving away from the clouds seeking earth, the last stop.

She waves her hands in time and punctuation as if it were a written song we had played a hundred times before.

The Stagehands had switched those lights back to the stage, to us.

Ticketed people begin to file back in, some finding their original seats, some coming closer to us.  Many just stand and tap their feet, wave their hands, eyes glisten and glow, head bopping like oak leaves in a spring breeze.

The orchestra director finally catches my eye,  to help me find a finish.  I did so, by corrupting the rhythm and going back above the bar.

First note, High C, bending to a D#, slipping back to a bar E.

The directed used her hands in an exaggerated flourish, and we hit the final beat and chord for her count of three.

The crowd erupted in thunderous applause and wanted even more.

I do not doubt, the customers later felt tonight’s ticket prices were cheap.
Many will talk of this on the way home, some will talk of it tomorrow.

Some will say, “I cannot explain it.  You had to be there!”

No doubt, many knew they were part of something so special they might not ever hear it again.

For just a few minutes, I soared, for my last time, on the wings of the music, and energy of people that forgot their lives, their worries, their lost loves, and just were ALIVE.

I believe, all that night, for those few precious moments, were together, eating the same dessert.

No lefties, no righties, no blacks, whites, or south of the border.

Long gone now the night the stagehands following the sound with light to show the people the way.

Long silent my music.

But, never, ever, can I forget those few minutes when I soared for one last time before God and country, and everyone was together with the music.

We were one.

Maybe, that is what we are missing today, with all the hate-filled signs and angry voices.

Maybe, none of us have maple syrup and pancakes-music to keep us together.

Perhaps, we need to stop shuffling to the door thinking the music is dead, and listen again, as one heart.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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