A Night at the Symphony
The couple had taken their ten year-old grandson to a
performance of the local philharmonic, the guest conductor
was from the big city. They all were enjoying the
combination of fine music, comfortable seating and the
At the end of one piece of music the conductor turned to the
audience and requested that the houselights come up. "For
the next piece, I require the assistance of someone from the
audience." he stated. His gaze fell on the young grandmother
and he continued, "Yes, you ma'am. Thank you for
volunteering. Please give the lady a hand!" She rose and
made her way to the stage, somewhat embarrassed by the
"If you would stand by me, no, a little this way, you are on
the trap door." instructed the conductor. "What is your
"Martha" she replied.
"May I call you Martha?" he
"When may I call you Martha?" He retorted.
He was handed a violin from one of the stagehands.
"Please extend your hand to take this violin, no, the clean one. Oh,
I'm sorry, that was your clean one."
She reached for the instrument during the obligatory laughter that followed. As
she grasped the neck, she was horrified to see the body of
the violin separate and parts crash to the floor. She was
left holding the neck with the remainder suspended by its
strings. Members of the orchestra were laughing loudly.
"Madam, don't your realize that was a Stradivarius and
priceless? Look what you have done."
The conductor produced a hideous, oversized, grimy cloth hat
and placed it on her head.
"Since you seem to be having some problems, perhaps our special musician's hat will help."
He then placed a silver flute in her hands and continued, "The
orchestra will now play 'The Rite of Spring' and I want you
to play this flute during the appropriate passage in the
song. But, even though the flute is the most difficult
instrument to learn and play, please do not be nervous".
She was vaguely aware of the restrained giggling coming from the
Of course, the conductor did not know that in her youth she
was an accomplished flautist and had won a talent contest,
playing the same song.
On this night, she performed flawlessly. When the song was over, she noticed a marked
change in the demeanor of the conductor. He seemed quite
irritated and somewhat red in the face.
"Thank you for assisting me and being such a good sport." he told her, and
she started toward her seat during the ensuing applause. As
she neared the side of the stage the conductor called out,
"Oh, one more thing Martha, can you tell me the time?"
She glanced down at what turned out to be her naked wrist as she
heard the conductor
"Never mind, I see here that it is 10:15." She looked toward him to see her Piaget dangling
from his outstretched hand.
On the way home the grandfather queried the boy.
"I hear there is a jazz band coming to town, would you like to go?"
"I don't believe so, grandpa." he replied, "I think I'd
rather go to a magic show."