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“Meredith Adventure Number 3” • March 31, 2006

Dress Disaster!!

I don’t want you to get the wrong idea about me — that is — that Meredith is a big braggart — but — I am a pretty good pianist.  That’s not bragging — it’s just a statement of fact.  I’ve been playing for as long as I can remember and have had quite a bit of classical training.  I’ve never quite made the jump to “professional status” but I have played benefits and things like that with symphonic orchestras in a pretty professional environment.  I seriously have considered more than once trying to go the full professional route, but I’ve always had other things that got in the way.  So — I’ve remained an accomplished amateur.

SO — back in college I played piano with different campus music groups whenever I had the opportunity. At one of them, my dean happened to be in attendance.  And — my dean was also the chairman of a local charity organization — and the organization was planning a student benefit concert to raise some money — and he had already lined up a bunch of students from the music department — and then he heard me play — and thought that throwing one of his engineering student in would be kind of neat — and since he was my dean — I of course agreed to play —which led to my greatest concert disaster!!!!!

One of the professors in the music department had written a new arrangement of Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” that I fell in love with as soon as I heard it.  It was more of a piano solo with orchestral accompaniment rather than a full orchestra arrangement.  So — I begged, pleaded, whimpered, etc. and talked him into letting me debut it at the charity benefit.

If your are not familiar with “Rhapsody in Blue,” it is a very energetic piano piece, and this new arrangement was even more so.  I knew I’d really get a work out, but I figured it would be a real hit!  It was a very demanding piano piece, but I practiced it until I knew I could really nail it.

So came the big day.  The rehearsal that afternoon had gone really well and then I went to grab a quick bite with the dean, conductor, and concertmaster.  When we got back, I had to hurry a little to get changed.  I was gonna wear this really slinky long strapless black dress — really elegant!!  And — it was kind of tight — and I didn’t want to spoil its lines when I sat down — so I didn’t have anything on underneath it.  (Yeah — it was one of THOSE kind of designer dresses!) The dress had quite a bit of “hidden support” built in so I wasn’t worried about bouncing too much while playing.  However — I didn’t realize it but when my roommate zipped me up back in the dressing room, apparently she didn’t get the hook at the top of the zipper all the way through the thread loop!!  (Someone should cue the impending doom ominous music soundtrack at this point!!)

So I innocently and unknowingly walked out on the stage, smiled and bowed, which must have stretched the back of the dress a little too much.  Anyway, I sat down and started playing — and as I said, Rhapsody in Blue is pretty energetic, particularly this arrangement — and then to my horror — I could feel the zipper slower inching its way down in back!  My hair was pretty long and I figured it was mostly covering the unfolding disaster to the rear, but I could feel the front starting to slip!!!  Halfway through, I started trying to keep my arms pressed against my sides to hold the stupid dress up in front — which didn’t help my playing — and it was still sliding down!!!

The conductor looked over and did a classic double take when he realized what was happening.  I wasn’t sure whether he was having a heart attack or just trying to keep from bursting out laughing.  Anyway, mercifully we got to the end — I finished the last minute or so with the upper seam edge of the bodice barely hanging on my nipples.  I stood up, clamped my arms to my sides, pulled them back to hold the dress, and somehow managed to keep covered while I did the shallowest bow possible.

And then walking off the stage with an incredible sense of relief — I thought I was home free —both cups flopped down and I flashed the entire string section!!!!!!!!!!!!!



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