119. The conductor's wife
© Bruce Goodman 6 February 2014

The famous orchestra conductor had come all the way from England to New Zealand. He was to conduct the city’s symphony orchestra in a series of summer concerts. His wife travelled with him. She was a tiny woman, with grey hair and glasses. The famous conductor asked the orchestra if they minded if his wife sat in on the rehearsals. She would be as quiet as a mouse. Of course they didn’t mind!

So there she sat at the back of the auditorium, with her knitting. The orchestra were rehearsing Ravel’s Pavane pour une infante défunte. The music went very soft. Pianissimo. Shhh! Shhh!

Click! Click! Click! went the famous orchestra conductor’s wife’s knitting needles. Click! Click! Click!

“Um… excuse me,” said the lead flautist to the conductor. “Your wife’s knitting needles are a little too loud. They are a distraction.”

The sweet lady apologised. After that, she didn’t knit. She sat down the back and read Mills and Boon novels. Paperback romances! Such a sweet, little old lady! The orchestra appreciated the conductor, but (my goodness!) behind their music stands they made little jokes about his wife.

The first concert brought rave reviews:

…and we are honoured that his wife is on vacation and travelling with him. Dame Magdala Snodgrass is the Chief Justice of England and Wales…

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