Autumn had settled in and leaves had been drifting to the ground for quite some time. The school year was well in progress and our band director had begun to prepare us for our first concert of the year. We warmed up on scales and began to rehearse one of our concert pieces. I was a junior and first chair horn player so the solo in the piece had come to me.
The horn is a tricky instrument. If you have ever wondered why they stick their hand in the bell, it is to keep the instrument in tune. The slightest fluctuation of your hand can send the horn careening off course into harmony horror. This particular day just wasn’t my best. The solo was plaintive and gorgeous, a favorite and I could play it with my eyes shut (but I didn’t as my director would have shot me, heh).
I was midway through when, “You’re flat!” I heard my director holler. I adjusted my hand a bit. “You’re flat!” he hollered again, and again, “You’re flat!” I was reaching the point of exasperation, (he wasn’t being mean, just trying to get me in tune) as I heard him yell again, “You’re flat!” Suddenly from across the room in the trumpet section a voice pops up, “No she’s not!”
The entire band burst into riotous laughter as I turned beet-red from laughing tinged with embarrassment and looked for a chair to crawl under. My band director was so surprised and started laughing so hard that his baton nearly skewered one of the poor flutists on the front row.
I was not necessarily well endowed, but I most definitely was not flat.