Friday, June 8, 2018

The Typewriter

The Typewriter
The student in a red tux coat at the front
of the stage is pantomiming writing
a book about his high school experiences.
Duncan’s Mount Doug High School had their final concert tonight in another school – one over in a high school in Oak Bay where there is a beautiful concert hall, with risers filled with plush seats.

The music teacher, Doug Awai, pulls off a concert that has a low voices choir (men and woman who have low voices), a string ensemble, a Grade IX band, a Grade X band, a Senior Band, a choir and string ensemble, guest conductors (from the Grade XII’s), -- the choirs and ensembles just keep coming on and then going off the stage.

 The low voices choir started out a few years ago as just 6 students. That is all who would join the men's choir. Now the group goes right across the stage, with the addition of 2 women who have low voices. Duncan is not sure if he likes having the women in there. He liked it better when it was a men’s choir, not a low voices choir. He says he can hear the women’s voices. I tried to tell him that there is a range down there in the upper tenor / lower alto voice where it is difficult to tell who is sing, a man or a woman. He is staying with his thesis. Women should not be allowed in a men’s choir. Even if he doesn’t sing in it himself.

A few days ago Duncan asked Rebecca if she had one of the old typewriters from the past. They were doing a song called “Typewriter” and needed the typewriter to go along with the pantomime that was presented along with the song.

Note the two students who are lamps in the scene.
Duncan can be seen sitting to the left of the 
tall boy playing a solo at this point in the show.
A person sat on stage at a desk, a typewriter in front of him, typing as text was read and then music played.

Each time the carriage returned on the typewriter I could hear its roller clatter across as the return lever was hit.

It wasn’t until half way into the song that I realized that the noise was made by the timpani, one of whom was standing at the front of the stage, disguised as a lamp.

At least he had a lampshade on his head, along with a companion lamp doing other sound effects. I was laughing so hard that I knew if they didn’t give up the pantomime in a few minutes I would be hysterical with mirth.

We asked Duncan afterwards if the student in the red coat had either ballet or highland dancing skills. Duncan said no, he was just told that he was to have that part and that he was to leap around the stage. Unbelievable to us, but that is the way it was.

The band tuned up with a Bach chorale – just four bars. Then a few more bars if they weren’t in tune. I asked Duncan if this was memorized. No, he said. They had the music in front of them. I know the chorale by the first line of the words that go with it, but it probably is just is a numbered chorale, since Bach had to produce a new one every week for the services that he played for, and I think sometimes he only changed a few harmonies.

Just before the show ended someone may have collapsed a few risers down from us, and a few people took that person out. After seeing that, Rebecca suggested that we wait until the auditorium was clear before I tried to negotiate my way down the stairs. So as I was waiting I was watching other old people try to go down stairs with no bannister to hang onto. I poked Rebecca and said, “Look at that lady in the green coat. She looks about the same age as me. I am going to see how she does, going down the stairs. She looks about the same age as me.” She took a firm grip on the man beside her. I further whispered to Rebecca, “At that age, we don’t know if the younger looking man beside her is her husband or son, since men seem to age slower.” So we watched and in a couple of stairs she too collapsed, falling backward and bringing down the man she was holding onto as well. She knew she was going down and was laughing, even though she hit the ground. Another man rushed over to help the companion up, who may not have been laughing. And then pulled the woman up quickly as well. I leaned over to Rebecca and said, “If I go down like that, please leave me a while and let me get up on my own. The last thing I need is to be pulled up if my arm is broken. Rebecca agreed to let me get up on my own should I fall. I hope she remembers.


  1. Two people collapsed at the concert? Sounds like a cruise ship story.

  2. ...a FALL rather than a collapse. Arta has been studying the obituaries here, and none so far have tied the death to a collapse at the Mount Doug concert. so... all is well!