|Okay, kids…grab your teddy bears and a mug of hot cocoa for it’s storytime.
Our 4th and utility trumpeter, Chuck Lazarus, has a penchant for coming up with absurd situations and saying “I dare you to…”. This last week, when we were backstage preparing to play the call from Ein Heldenleben, he said “Hey, Manny…I’ll bet between the time we walk offstage to play the call and then actually play the call you can’t go to Caribou and bring back a cup of coffee”.
For those of you that have never been to Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis, the nearest Caribou Coffee is across the plaza from the hall but it’s perpetually crowded and not always a fast serve.
Without batting an eye or knowing whether I could actually do it I said “Piece o’ cake. However… if I make it back in time to play the call you have to drink whatever I bring back during the rest between the first and second call. Deal?”
Chuck said okay, you’ve got a deal.
Saturday rolled around and we waited until the end of the violin solo and when the whole orchestra came in on the big, sumptuous melody we left the stage as is our custom around here.
I was the first one off the stage and I wordlessly grabbed my jacket which was waiting for me next to my case. Chuck stared at me as I strolled to the exit. “Are you really doing this?” Exiting and with back turned I said “Yup” and went through the door. Chuck was a bit stunned and waited with the gentleman playing 3rd, Sylvain Pineault, who was rather concerned about the whole situation and kept saying “…what are we going to do if he doesn’t make it?…do you have a plan?”
Chuck did not have a plan.
Did I forget to mention this was a live Friday night broadcast?
They hatched one and waited as the minutes ticked by. Just before the woodwinds came in with the reminiscence of the “Hero’s Adversaries” theme, I walked in and handed Chuck his coffee, took off my coat, and grabbed my horn.
We played the first call and I motioned to the shot of espresso in which I had added some cream to make it easy to swallow without burning his lip. We watched him down it and played the next call. On to stage we went to finish the show.
“I never thought you’d actually do it” Chuck remarked with amazement.
What Chuck didn’t know was that during the Mozart concerto that preceded intermission I went to Caribou, got the espresso with cream, and placed it in a nearby office in the Hall where I was never more thirty feet from them. There, I listened to the concert over the intercom and returned with the pre-set coffee slightly before the nick-of-time. I also let Sylvain know what I had done and asked him to do all he could to make Chuck uneasy about my being gone.
I would have gotten away with it had his lady friend (who would later become his wife) , who was working in the office a few doors down not been there. Her door was wide open and she knew I had not gone through that area, the only way to get outside from where I was!
We had a good laugh over it except for the fact that he couldn’t fall asleep until 3 am that morning from the caffeine buzz.