Be Careful About Being Helpful

A number of years back I was hired to do an Easter service concert in the west suburbs of Chicago. As is pretty typical with this type of gig the rehearsal was a few hours before the service at the church. The orchestra was small and I was the only bassist. I always enjoyed those types of gigs.
I don’t remember what we were playing – perhaps bits of Handel. There was a volunteer chorus made up of long time congregationl members. They were placed directly behind the humble orchestra. They looked very pleasant and smiled a lot. They were just happy to have the opportunity to sing. It seemed nice!
A few movements in the rehearsal the woman behind me dropped her music. She couldn’t reach it to pick it up. “No problem,” I thought. “It’s near my stool and I’ll just quickly stop playing and get it for her.”
So I did just that. Calamity!
The conductor stopped the orchestra almost as soon as I stopped. “Bass, what’s the problem?” I briefly explained, “Nothing. I was picking up music that was dropped. Don’t worry I know the part and it will be fine.”

He sighed and restarted the orchestra to a spot before the music drop.

Now for the real kicker. After trying to be helpful – in a church – that conductor never hired me again!

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