23 August 2007

The one about the pit partners

Four down and two to go.
I have this ritual of checking off opera performances on my schedule just before crashing into the last act. It gives me hope. Alex Fokkens and I met about 15 years ago at the SA National Youth Orchestra course in a cold, cold July in Bloemfontein. Hadri conducted Sibelius' 2nd symphony. What I remember most of that SANYO course was that, prior to the last performance, Alex and I played the slow movement from the second Dittersdorff concerto together and perfectly in tune while waiting to go on stage. An unsurpassed feat in double bass performance.
We reunited in 1994 to tour Scotland with SANYO. What joy and what frustration! My bass case weighed about 20kg and looked like Hagrid's coffin. We referred to it as 'Grandma' and, when transporting it, occasionally used to knocked on the case and asked "Grandma, you still OK in there?". Besides our own cases, we had to schlepp their royals highnesses basses around as well. Alex then left for the US to study double bass and conducting and I, well, I didn't.
Many adventures later, the intrepid bass players reunited in Cape Town and to pay for our sins we were thrown into the orchestra pit-of-hell. Alex, of course, is a super bass player and I am basically there for light comic relief and to turn the page. I suggested that we wear red ties and then promptly forgot to wear one. I overcompensated by wearing two red ties tonight.
PS: There are chillies on Alex's tie. Why?

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