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 another chair story
Author: Philip Caron 
Date:   2018-01-25 07:52

Coming up through high school first chair in our 1st clarinet section was held by the best player, which always happened to be a senior. Competition was pretty stiff; two good clarinetists lived and taught in our town, and there was rivalry between their students. Band was big in the community too, so the sections were pretty large. It was a good high school band.

As a junior, to my surprise and others', I won first chair during the annual placement auditions the first week. The senior who expected to win that chair, and who placed second, was a good friend of mine. He studied with the other teacher. The conductor permitted individuals to challenge for a higher chair at any time during the school year, and in fact it was encouraged. That almost never happened, but during that year my friend the senior challenged me four separate times.

Several kinds of audition were used for those. Usually the conductor would pick passages from our folder that we would take turns playing. Sometimes he'd throw in sight reading. One time it was a blind private audition where the conductor had his back turned and we were each allowed to pick our own music to play. The rest were in front of the whole band, and once the conductor had all of them vote on the winner instead of himself choosing. Each time I was chosen to keep 1st chair.

I hated the auditions & challenges and felt embarrassed at how they went. My friend always got upset; one time when the conductor pronounced his decision, my friend loudly demanded "WHY??" right in front of everyone, and I wanted to fall through the floor. I never sought first chair or any limelight at all, and I would probably have been as happy, and surely less stressed, in a lower chair.

Outside of band I tried to ignore the situation, but unfortunately my friend became less friendly after each contest and grew moody and threatened to quit band etc. Toward the end of the year he became hostile. One time he punched me in the face while I was asleep. That was after I placed higher than him at All State, and also at a solo competition that coincided with All State. My bruised cheek hurt for a week. He just walked away and ignored my questioning him about it.

There was more, but anyway it was a relief to get through that junior year. My friendship with the other guy was never close afterward, though we retained some friendly terms. He went on to a prestigious college and majored in physics and switched to oboe.

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 Topics Author  Date
 another chair story  new
Philip Caron 2018-01-25 07:52 
 Re: another chair story  new
zhangray4 2018-01-25 09:32 
 Re: another chair story  new
nellsonic 2018-01-25 10:36 
 Re: another chair story  new
MSK 2018-01-27 05:39 
 Re: another chair story  new
Musikat 2018-01-27 06:35 
 Re: another chair story  new
donald 2018-01-27 07:17 
 Re: another chair story  new
Ashle TK 2018-01-28 22:41 
 Re: another chair story  new
dorjepismo 2018-01-29 09:25 
 Re: another chair story  new
apaul001 2018-01-30 23:55 

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