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Concert Recipe


  • 1 Violin (or orchestral instrument of choice)
    • too much rosin on the bow if you’re nervous
    • Is the bow hair tight enough now? No, it’s too tight. Now? Maybe. Is it bouncy? Does it bounces?
  • 1 shot caffeine
  • 2 shots adrenaline (administer both caffeine and adrenaline with caution, like peppermint oil or lemon zest)
  • Concert black attire
  • Weird blue backstage lighting
  • Squeaky stage floorboards (exist in all halls, even new ones)
  • Concertmaster (and/or other principals) jigging backstage
  • Conductor
  • Make Way for the Bass Player/Timpani/Cellos/Why is the piano being moved and am I about to be squashed
  • Stand buddy
  • Warm yellow stage lights
  • Audience
  • The tuning A (must be accompanied by hushed, reverent silence)
  • Sheet music (did you tape the pages? Is it going to fly in four different directions at the slightest gust of wind in the drafty hall? Oh. You have a stapled original copy. Good for you)


  • Wake up
  • Realize it’s today
  • Add caffeine
  • Pretend to do other things until it’s go-time
  • Find black socks
  • Run around like a chicken with its head cut off in the 4 minutes before leaving for the concert hall as caffeine and adrenaline take effect.
  • Arrive 15 minutes before 15 minute call time and stand around awkwardly until needed
  • Observe the 6 different possible shades of black in concert attire only visible under weird blue backstage lighting.
  • Admire everyone’s formal concert attire (because hey! We clean up nice when we feel like it)

For a concert with multiple sections requiring different performer combinations:

  • Lights dim, applause from front of stage.
    • Everyone backstage freezes like rabbits caught stealing strawberries from Mr. McGregor
    • Performers engage in Spooky Skeleton Tiptoe-Walk to avoid squeaky stage floorboards (most impressive when done in spike heels. Do not applaud; audience will hear)
  • Stifle laughter at all backstage antics
    • Do not burst into fit of the giggles when Concertmaster (and/or other principals) begin jigging backstage (this is a result of nerves or a desire to amuse/relax other orchestra members or…frankly, we have no idea. Occurs often. May in extreme forms appear as a line dance to inexperienced observers, usually just a “boing-de-boing-de” sort of bouncing up and down)
    • Have mental breakdown when Conductor whispers backstage during performance (I must answer. Hush the sibilants. Make no sound. Why is he talking?)
  • Stage reset (known colloquially as “musical chairs”)
    • Optional Make Way for the Bass Player/Timpani/Cellos/Why is the piano being moved and am I about to be squashed
    • Find Stand Partner (buddy)
    • Form line roughly in seating order
    • wait
    • wait
    • wait
  • Enter stage (may have the appearance of distressed ambling goats to marching band personnel who always enter in a specific order)
    • Adrenaline likely to resurface here.
    • Stage lights shining in performer’s eyes makes all but the front 12 rows of seats invisible (but we’re not supposed to wave anyway, so this might be for the best)
  • Sit in assigned chair
  • Oboe plays tuning A
  • Approx. 20 seconds of “Well, now what?” before orchestra starts warming up
  • Get sheet music in order
  • Breathe
  • House lights dim. Adrenaline spikes. Conductor sashays onstage. The show is on.

Perform for 15-120 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 1 orchestra of giddy, exhausted musicians.

Best served with ice cream. Especially if orchestra can be persuaded to go out for it together in full concert attire. Reactions of ice cream parlor visitors and staff never disappointing.


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