excerpt from 'Recollections of an old musician' pp. 249-251 (380 words)

excerpt from 'Recollections of an old musician' pp. 249-251 (380 words)

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Recollections of an old musician

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In this same Topeka [Kansas], many years later, the concluding piece on one of our programmes was a potpourri which began with the introduction to the Der Freischiitz overture. We had a good house and a crowded gallery. In the latter two men were seated on the right- hand side near the stage, who, when we began the closing piece, attempted to get out. They  had to walk down one side of the hall, then across the end, then up the other side, before reaching the door, which was the only means of ingress or egress to the gallery—an awful fire-trap. We began the introduction to the overture. At this point, up rose the two men and started for the door. We stopped playing. The silence told the men that something had happened, and they sat down again, probably not wishing to make a show of themselves by walking out, in their number elevens, without music. All being quiet, we began the opening phrase once more; up rose again the two men and began their march. Again we stopped, wishing to let them get out and not have our piece spoiled; and again they stood still, this time in the aisle next the wall. We waited a little, and hearing no noise we began for the third time. Instantly, one of the men, who at this point had probably “ got his mad up," started for the door. With him it was “ Pike’s Peak or bust ” this time. When we heard the noise we stopped again, whereupon the audience began to titter, and the man making for the door ran the gauntlet of many ironical remarks from the boys, such as, “Take your time, old fellow,”—“No hurry,”—“He’ll get there,”—“ The fiddles ’ll wait,” etc. Finally he reached the door and slammed it with all his might, a parting benediction which, as a reverend friend afterward remarked, said “ Damn! ” as surely as a word could be translated into action. The entire audience understood it in that sense and burst into a perfect roar of laughter.

When quiet was restored we played the piece, and ended the concert.

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excerpt from 'Recollections of an old musician' pp. 249-251 (380 words)


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