Having a junior moment

Once people enter middle age, whatever that may be, they seem to feel entitled to put any lapses of memory or outbreaks of bizarre thinking down to a ‘senior moment’.  I’m not sure what age allows entry to the senior moment club, but I’m fairly sure I haven’t reached it, being a spring chicken of 28.  My intriguing memory lapse at last night’s concert must therefore have been a junior moment.

There I was, happily singing the man’s half of ‘I’ll Know’ from Guys and Dolls, when I suddenly realised I didn’t know what the next line was.  I couldn’t stop, and although the music was on a stand nearby, I had no idea where on the page I actually was.  Nobody could have rescued me, so I just had to smile and keep singing.  Anything.  Any old words until I reached a point where I knew exactly what I should be singing and when.  Unfortunately, the point I was aiming for was also the point where my duet partner comes back in to the song, and I could see in her eyes that she wasn’t sure that I’d be on the right words by this point.

I knew vaguely what I was supposed to be singing about, and managed to get something vaguely sensible out of the process.  What the wonderful Frank Loesser wrote at this point of the song was:

And I’ll stop, and I’ll stare 

And I’ll know, long before we can speak

I’ll know in my heart

I’ll know and I won’t ever ask

Am I right?

Am I wise?

Am I smart?

But I’ll stop, and I’ll stare at that face in the throng

Yes, I’ll know when my love comes along.

What actually came out of my mouth, however, was:

And I’ll stop and I’ll stare 

And I’ll know when my love comes along

I’ll know right away

I’ll know when my love comes along

And I won’t

Ever ask

Is it wise?

But I’ll stop, and I’ll stare at that face in the throng

Yes, I’ll know when my love comes along.

I discovered afterwards that the accompanist was practically having kittens, as he had no idea when, if ever, I would start singing the right words again, and knew it was possible that I’d jump to a different bit of the tune.  My duet partner came in as soon as she was sure we’d be singing the same words as each other (“But I’ll stop…”).  A member of the choir behind me had gone bright red with anxiety.  Another thought I’d rewritten the words because I felt like it.  And quite a number of them had no idea that I’d been improvising.  On balance, then, I suspect that the audience has no idea quite how unique that performance was.  I’m so glad it’s not one of those songs that everyone could sing along to if they chose – saved by the relative obscurity of the number!

If that’s what a junior moment feels like, I’m really not looking forward to the senior variety.

    • Phil
    • July 9th, 2007

    That looks like you got through that one. Not bad at all.
    Well done that performer for blagging your way to the point everyone knew you were back on track 🙂


  1. I was mortified, but very relieved that I’d been able to think quickly enough to blag it.

  2. Well done for blagging it, I’d have been terrified if I was you!

    • floatykatja
    • July 11th, 2007

    OOh, that’s happened to me many a time. It’s usually at the point when I actually think about what’s coming next, rather than letting muscle-memory carry me through. It never fails to be terrifying, though.

  3. Trust me, it is terrifying for the accompanist or the orchestra as well as the performer! But your story about it was quite amusing, you know.

  4. I can imagine the terror for the musicians as well, as the audience often blames them if the singer and accompaniment part company. It is sometimes their fault, but more often the singer, at least in solo performance with no conductor!

    Floatykatja, you mean I’ll have to go through that again? D’oh!

  1. August 14th, 2010

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