Symphony Mice

Last weekend I played with the Durham Symphony Orchestra for the first time. It’s a semi-professional group lead by Maestro William Curry using the combined talents of volunteer and professional musicians. An interesting group, that I was delighted to join for their May 17 pops concert, a tribute to Paul Roberson.  

They rehearse Tuesday nights in the basement of the Durham Arts Council. I arrived about an hour before the rehearsal, unpacked my harp and introduced myself to the librarian and personnel manager (both players in the group as well!). The librarian kindly told me that she was going to slide my case to the side, because she had just spotted a mouse running along the baseboard nearby.

A mouse? Oh dear.

Musicians trickled in at first, and one of them, an expert violinist emptied a nearby box, trapped the mouse and re-homed the baby rodent in the parking lot outside.

Whew! The mouse has left the building.

The rehearsal begins, I start counting, listening and playing my part. Everyone’s grooving to an arrangement made for Charlie Parker, “Just Friends.” When suddenly, someone gets too excited, gasps and stands up. 

What happened I wondered, did they play a wrong note? Did their string break?

Nay, nay. A second and bigger mouse ran through the cello section and directly into the instrument closet. Probably looking for his quarter-sized violin. The maestro locked the mice in the instrument closet for the duration of the rehearsal and we continued.

Joplin rags sound great played by an orchestra. I think the mice agreed. A third creature made an appearance. His presence formally announced by gasps, shrieks, and a well-executed wave in the string section. (Baseball fans would be in awe).

Without an instrument closet to find refuge, the expert violinist again grabbed her box, and relocated the mouse to his new home in the outdoor parking lot.

Rehearsal went on uninterrupted, and the following week, the baseboards were lined with mousetraps.