Sunday, December 7, 2008

Oh Horny Night

In an attempt to curb spending, I’ve been sitting at home a lot lately. Joblessness sits heavy on my shoulders, making me irritable and depressed. So my wife and friends have been finding ways to get me out of the house. I don’t care what the entertainment is; as long as it’s free, I’ll go.

My friend Norberto and his wife, Jodi have been a terrific help. Jodi invited me to a touring stage presentation of The Wizard of Oz recently. Artistically, it wasn’t my cup of tea, but it was fascinating to see how a show like this is staged in front of live audience. I kept trying to imagine how they packed up all the elaborate sets and fit them into the single tractor-trailer we saw parked outside.

Last night, they invited me to see a concert of Christmas music performed by a 30-piece English-style brass band in a large Lutheran church. The sanctuary was dominated by this huge sculpture of Jesus, caught in the act of stomping an innocent lamb to death:

stomp


The church had enormous video screens on either side of the altar. Wireless cameras were strategically placed around the hall, controlled by some hidden media guru in the choir loft. Unfortunately, the video display was delayed by about half a second, so you would hear the cymbals crash a moment before you actually saw them crash on the screen.

But the media guru was merciful, and switched to coverage of the University of Alabama versus University of Florida football game during the intermission. This elicited cheers from the men in the audience, many of whom had been dragged there against their will.

screen2


Every instrument in the band was a brass instrument except for the percussion section. Norberto and Jodi’s son Jonathan was one of the three percussionists. The percussion section consisted of a wide variety of instruments: a drum kit, cymbals, a xylophone, a marimba, kettledrums, bells, wood blocks, and one of those Latin scratchy gourd things.

jonathan


The percussionists moved in a graceful dance from one instrument to the other during the show, often disappearing completely during a musical number that didn’t require percussion (I found out later they were in a back room watching the football game). In the song “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” only Jonathan remained on the stage, and his only duty was to ding a triangle one time. Hey, I could do that. I wonder how much that job pays?

After the show, we went out for a late supper, the sounds of flugelhorns and Christmas cheer dancing in my head. Norberto was driving his older son’s car for reasons that can only be explained by a clinical psychologist. Unbeknownst to Norberto, the car has an alarm system, and somehow Norberto triggered it. The lights flashed and the horn blared in the restaurant parking lot: BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! Nobody knew how to turn it off, and Norberto quickly became frustrated and upset. After 10 minutes of everybody shouting instructions, the alarm was finally silenced. We went inside and had a nice meal, but afterwards, Norberto set off the alarm again. I drove home, the sounds of car horns and cursing dancing in my head.

2 comments:

Jonathan said...

Unfortunately, we worked free of charge

Lisa said...

I definitely recognize this church. My kids go to school here and truthfully, I have always thought the Jesus stomping the lamb was a little crazy myself.... anyhow. I love your stories Tim!