Beware of being helpful!

Several years ago I was hired to do an Easter church service gig in a very affluent suburb of Chicago. I was excited as it was great music, close to where I lived, and decent pay. There rehearsal was at 9am and the service at 11. The chamber orchestra comprised local gigging musicians and hired guns. The chorus consisted of volunteers from the church – mostly elderly women. Both ensembles sounded lovely.

 I arrived early to setup – as all musicians do! I was the only bassist and was in back just in front of the choir which was behind a wooden railing. We were going through the music and all was good when one of the singers just behind me dropped her music.

I stopped playing, picked up her music,handed it to her and continued playing. She said a pleasant thank you and continued singing. I thought nothing of it. Picking up her music was the right thing to do, right? Apparently not!

The conductor stopped and sternly asked me what the problem was and why I had stopped playing. I explained the situation and reassured him that I knew the music and the performance would be fine. He was not happy about the situation! So here was a church director and I had tried to do the right thing by being helpful. My mistake! I was never hired back in that church!!

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