I have a couple of special moments from my years as a violinist with the Utah Symphony that I’d like to share:
One of my most memorable times of orchestra life was when Danny Kaye, who was conducting the musicians’ pension fund benefit concert, came out on stage and shook the hand of the concertmaster, then the assistant concertmaster, the principal second violin, etc. Then, he spies his long lost love and bends her over with a flattening embrace. It was all very dramatic, and I was chosen to be the long lost love. Among his choices of music was Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumblebee, in which he traded his baton for a flyswatter.
Now THAT’S Dedication!
During one of the Utah Symphony tours to southern Utah (the heartland of small town America), one of the works we performed was Stravinsky’s “Petrushka”. We were playing in a big auditorium: actually it was a college gymnasium, very big barn-like sound with high hung lights that were our chandeliers. The time came in the piece for the big roll on the Snare Drum. Somehow Craig Fineshriber, our former principal percussionist, had forgotten to securely mount the snare on its stand. As we had been moving from town to town, there were many set ups and tear downs of our equipment, and in the rush of arriving late due to a flat tire on the bus, and the fact that the one bus had taken a wrong turn and had had to turn around, the time allotted for set up had been severely curtailed. The moment came for the big snare solo, which began auspiciously enough, but then the snare drum, which had not been properly fastened, started to descend from its standard height. As it was lowering itself, Mr. Fineshriber did not let up. He continued to play the drum as if his life, or his job, depended on it. Needless to say, many musicians were in hysterics as we concluded the piece. Craig had not dropped a note. He regards this to this day as his most embarrassing moment, but we regarded it as one of our most memorable.
– Lynn Rosen