I’d never heard the expression “bucket list” until the movie of the same name came out in 2007 with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson. Since then I’ve heard people, everyone from Medicare seniors to elementary-aged kids, name things on their bucket list.
I had a bucket list moment last night, although I didn’t know I wanted it on my list until the opportunity presented itself last spring. There were try-outs. It was scary. I am not a trained musician. It would be a once-in-a-lifetime moment.
Last night 49 members of my chorus and I performed with the California Symphony on three John Williams’ songs. Until last night I hadn’t realized how much music he’s written and how distinct each piece is from the other.
Saving Private Ryan
Until last night I wasn’t sure I belonged with the others that had made the cut.
Of course I was nervous. The conductor was busy bringing in the instruments. Would he cue us, too? We all had a terrible time with the timing of Duel of the Fates from Star Wars.
We sang nonsensical words. Rattama! Syodhoe! Kiloh! We had an a cappella part where we sang the first four chords with no accompaniment. How would we get our pitches? Thankfully John, the tenor next to me, had a pitch pipe, which he played for the tiny group of Tenor One people in the back row. We needed to hear the E, and John saved the day.
I guess that makes up for him standing on my dress when he stood up and I tried to stand up. I was pinned to the ground by his shoe. He figured it out, and I popped up a second after everyone else.
We all missed an entrance on the last song. But other than that, we pulled it off, after only one rehearsal with the instruments. We sat behind the 100 musicians, most of them much younger than our aging chorus. Only the piano player and a few assorted violinists had graying hair.
I gave away my two tickets to a girlfriend and her neighbor. I’d bought them just in case I didn’t make the cut to perform.
Another thing that went wrong was that the back row of men didn’t fill every seat, leaving the last person onto the risers without a chair. She sat in the wings and didn’t sing. She wasn’t able to stand alongside the risers due to health reasons. Although those of us on the end of the row knew it was happening, there was nothing anyone could do about it. We couldn’t elbow the guys to move down and fill every seat. We were onstage. I am sure at today’s pre-concert warm-up, our fearless leader will scold the guys so that it won’t happen again.
That’s right, we get to do it all again this afternoon.
Okay, twice in a lifetime.