(Lars) #1

Iwasnext.IsatbyLewJeffrey
at his desk. He asked my age,
school, and what piece I would play.
“Andwhowillbewatchingyou
today?”
“My piano teacher and my fam-
ily.Butmydadisoutoftown in
Lincoln. He says he will be watching
mefromatelevisionstore.”Icould
almost hear him cheering from sixty
miles away.
Confident,Iwenttothepiano
and began to play. Easy, so easy! Fun
almost...rightuptothecoda at
the end.
I suddenly realized I should not be at the
end! My heart jumped to my mouth. I had
skipped a part. A huge part. How did that
happen?
Somehow my brain went to work. I visu-
alized the music. Ah, yes, page two. How
could I get smoothly back and fill in those
measures? There were eight or more.
Ididn’t.Icouldn’tfigurea bridge fast
enough.Ihittheconcludingchord three
timesinadiminuendo,making it fade—
and just stopped playing. My performance
had probably lasted barely a minute.
At least I had the presence of mind
to smile at the camera before its red light
went off.
Three sisters in cute white cowgirl outfits
followed with a song-and-dance routine to
“Buttons and Bows.”
Their act won. We remaining contestants
eachreceivedaCertificateofParticipation.


I waited for the bus and thought about
it all. I surprised myself by feeling more
relieved than disappointed. I could not pre-
tend that my performance was best. In truth,
the other three were far superior.

A CODA IS A CONCLUDING PASSAGE
AT THE END OF A COMPOSITION.

ADIMINUENDO IS A GRADUAL REDUCTION
IN FORCE OR LOUDNESS. “BUTTONS AND
BOWS” WON THE ACADEMY AWARD FOR
BEST SONG IN 1947. 7