Unfortunately, Joe was deeply familiar with this variety.
On a Friday morning in late fall, Joe stood at the podium in the M.S. 74 band room. Armed with only a conductor’s baton, he bravely tried to coax a harmony from the noise assaulting his ears.
“One, two, three, four! Stay on the beat! Two, three, four—” Joe shouted, waving the baton in vain. He could barely make himself heard over the honking and shrieking of the horn section. “That’s a C-sharp, horns!”
CRASH! A trombonist knocked over her music stand. The trumpeter next to her was slouched so far down that he appeared to be playing into his navel. One of the saxophonists seemed to be playing the wrong song entirely—probably because the kid was paying more attention to his cell phone than the sheet music.
Joe turned to Connie, a petite trombonist in the first row. She was his last hope. “All you, Connie. Go for it!”
Connie raised her trombone to her lips and began her solo. The notes rang out clear and strong over the cacophony. She closed her eyes, swaying as she played.




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