What 22 Guitars Can Do, by Brigitta Kolics
My heart was pounding like a drum as I clutched the neck of my guitar with my sweaty hands. I stared at the gigantic stage and listened to the hubbub of the crowd. I anxiously waited with the rest of the group as I swiped my palms on my pants, I prefer not to drench my guitar in sweat before a performance – especially not one that is this important.
The lights flickered on behind the heavy black curtains. ”Be careful going onstage, we don’t want any broken guitars,” Dr. Hinsley warned us in his usual cheery voice and smiled. All of us crept behind the curtain and settled down in our spots, careful not to knock anything over. As I thought about what he said about broken guitars, I smiled realizing that here and now a broken guitar is worse than a broken bone according to most of the people involved with our performance. Everyone quietly tuned and looked over the piece we were performing. Dr. Joe, the youth orchestra’s wonderful conductor and director, walked around making sure everyone was ready. He always makes everyone happy, with his silly grin and his funny comments. Just by standing there, our devoted Dr. Joe was already making everyone more confident and ready for the big performance.
The audience erupted in applause and we were quiet as Dr. Hinsley walked on in front of the curtain and started saying his usual friendly speech. I tried to listen but it was almost impossible because behind him, his words just melted together in globs of nonsense. After a few minutes of listening and smiling, I spotted Dr. Joe urgently mouthing, get ready! I got ready and heard the applause. The curtain rose up and Dr. Joe rushed onstage, bowed, then turned to us and we started.
After finishing, I heard all 1500 pairs of hands clapping as the curtains dropped down quickly. Dr. Joe moved his music stand forward so he wouldn’t be trampled by the massive curtain. He smiled and softly exclaimed, ”Great job guys! That was wonderful!” and he gave us a thumbs up. We grabbed our music stands, footstools, music, and of course our guitars, and snuck off the stage.
We went back to the dressing room and set our things down. As we walked up to the mezzanine, I thought about how great this guitar orchestra has been and how supportive everyone is. I’m really glad that I got to be a part of this, and I sure hope that I can do it again.
Editor’s note: under a 3-year sponsorship from Dr. Michael Froehls, the Austin Classical Guitar Youth Orchestra is a by-audition ensemble under the direction of Dr. Joseph V. Williams II.