‘Mother’s decided what she would like to do for her birthday.’
Roger had come home to find leaflets spread all over the coffee table and his wife and mother-in-law enjoying tea and cake.
‘She wants to go to a concert.’
‘How about Melodies From The Musicals,’ said Roger ‘or this piano recital at the town hall?’
‘Too dull; next Wednesday night at the concert hall sounds wonderful’ the old lady passed the brochure to her daughter.
‘Shostakovich, an hour and a quarter, are you sure?’
‘Yes, is that the symphony with the big orchestra and lots of drums? Good, let’s go to that, it may well be my last birthday.’
‘It might be rather loud’ said Roger hopefully.
‘Not for someone hard of hearing’ she retorted.
‘I’m not sure if you will like the second half’ said his wife ‘…a new commission, can’t pronounce the composer. Making full use of the percussion section, this exciting new composer takes Shostakovich as his inspiration. The fifty five minute work is a profound comment on post Soviet, Twenty First Century Russia, sounds a bit heavy.’
‘You’re never too old to try something new’ her mother chuckled
The old lady was pleased with her seat in the front row and settled back to watch the orchestra manoeuvre onto the stage. Shostakovich lived up to her expectations; the percussionists put their heart and soul into the performance. She tapped her feet and strummed her fingers on the arms of the seat. The vibrations shook every ache and pain out of her body, she hadn’t felt so alive for years. As the applause died down she turned excitedly to her daughter and son-in-law.
‘You didn’t fall asleep in that Roger. Do you remember the last time we came here, that poor chap only pinged his triangle twice; tonight he was in his element.’
‘Do you want to pop to the ladies Mother?’
She shook her head. ‘I wouldn’t mind an ice cream.’
‘We’ll try not to be too long.’
The old lady nodded and watched everyone get up to stretch their legs; she was soon sitting alone staring at the empty stage, wondering how steep the side steps were. She stood up; within moments she was perched on the seat behind the timpani, how different everything looked from up here. She admired the array of instruments, drums, xylophones, glockenspiels and chimes; just as fascinating were the selection of implements to strike them. She picked up a stick and hesitantly tapped the drum, then struck it firmly.
A young man in tails strode onto the stage then stopped in surprise.
‘You don’t mind do you dear, it is my birthday.’
He looked round nervously, then demonstrated each instrument and let the old lady try.
Backstage the conductor was glad to hear the percussion section having a last minute practice for the difficult new piece.
As Roger returned with three tubs of ice cream he was surprised to see his mother-in-law being escorted back to her seat by a member of the orchestra. Settling down, he read the programme with dismay.
‘Oh dear, I don’t think we’re going to enjoy the next piece, we could leave…’
‘Certainly not, I wouldn’t miss it for the world’ his mother-in-law replied.