One dingy flat is much the same as the next and a music degree doesn’t change that. In other respects moving to the big city was an eye-opener for a country girl like Kyla, and one which she welcomed readily. Becoming a small cog in the big wheel of a professional orchestra wasn’t the most profitable career move, but it took her farther away from home and into pastures new.
She was quite reasonably nervous about her very first rehearsal with the great ensemble and arrived far too early. The hall was still fairly dark and quiet apart from the sound of an odd far-off voice or the occasional door opening or closing somewhere in the distance. Kyla lurked in the shadows hoping not to be noticed or seem too sinister if she was. It wasn’t long though before the place started filling up with people of very different appearances and smells. Instrument cases clicked open, chairs scraped over the already scratched wooden floor. Shuffling music and chatting friends all added to the decibels that began to resound across the vast rehearsal room.
Kyla tried to eavesdrop on other players’ conversations, but most were too unintelligible in the mayhem and difficult to follow all the way through. So she had to just make do with passing snippets.
Veronica, one of the oboists, with her pre-moulded hair and gargoyled face, who resembled something Goya may have painted during his dark convalescing period, was talking to her friend. “What do lighting and a cellists’ fingers have in common?” she asked with a self-satisfied grin.
Amanda, not the most charismatic violist the world had ever known, merely shrugged. She looked like the summer of her life was behind her, and judging by her expression, it had rained.
Kyla would have jumped down the throat of any man who judged women by their appearance, but as a woman herself she was doing so with sisterly bitchiness so that made it all right.
Veronica continued to answer her own question, “They never strike in the same place twice.” The one joke she ever remembered fell on deaf ears.
Kyla’s desk partner was someone she would have to at least try to get on with. Brenda seemed really nice. A bit too nice maybe. If she’d learned nothing else from school, Kyla knew that the sweeter the smile, the more venomous the smiler.
The Principal Cellist, Mary, still seemed just as encouraging as she did at the audition. Enthusiastic and hearty she gave the impression that she lived entirely on raw meat and cups of tea.
Kyla was sure they were all extremely talented musicians and wanted to be liked by them all, but with the firm proviso that she didn’t have to like them back. She also hoped that they would sound more united whilst playing than all this hullabaloo.
A thin man with thick-rimmed spectacles balanced half way down his nose strutted up to the podium and the hall fell silent. He glanced through his eyeglasses at the score in front of him, and then over the top of them to the assembled musicians. “Right,” he said quietly, “we have a lot to get through this season, and we begin with Bruch’s Violin Concerto Number One.” He picked up his baton, which he knew had more power than a lightsaber within these walls, “So, without further ado . . .”
For Kyla these early days meant a lot of hard work, they were very regimented but extremely productive. She settled in quickly but relished her time off, and returned to the country for home-cooked dinners and fresh air whenever she could.
Copyright © 2014 M J Race
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