My great-aunt through marriage - that is, my mom's mother's brother's wife - died on Monday, after having lived down the street from us for many years (and she's lived in Norman since 1939!). My brothers and I were asked to participate in the service, so Frederick came up from Texas to play the piano and act as a pallbearer along with Stephan and me.
Have you seen those movies where something goes terribly wrong as the pallbearers carry the casket down some steep steps? I know I have, but it turns out to be pretty simple and straightforward. None of that casket-on- shoulders, descend-a-staircase stuff; no, our job was to lift the casket into, and out of, the hearse. Whew!
I went with Frederick to the funeral home early, so that he could rehearse a few solo hymns to be sung. About 30 minutes prior to the service, however, the soloist insisted that Frederick had a better voice, and should therefore sing the solo. With that, he bowed out of the rehearsal. Thirty minutes later I was accompanying Frederick's solo.
During the eulogy, the pastor told a story to demonstrate the need to live life to the fullest.
Paganini was an outstanding violinist. Once while performing a difficult piece, one of his strings snapped. He frowned, but continue the performance. A little while later, a second string snapped. Without missing a beat, he continued playing. Nearing the end of the piece, the third string snapped, leaving him with one remaining string. He finished the piece, and the audience jumped to its feet in a standing ovation.
The master violinist, however, motioned for the audience to be seated. The audience knew it was impossible, but Paganini indicated that he would provide an encore with his one remaining string. With a smile he announced, "Paganini...and one string!"
I watched Frederick's face throughout the story, and at its conclusion I just had to ask:
Me : "Is that story true?"
Frederick : "It's a little...dramatized. Paganini attached small razors to his bows. He would purposefully cut strings mid-performance. He was an excellent showman."
I've come into some music lately. Eric and I headed to Hastings and picked up several Backstreet Boys and NSYNC albums for $0.49 each. Booyah! I'm now the mildly pleased owner of the Backstreet Boys' self-titled release and "Millennium", as well as NSYNC's "No Strings Attached" album.
Be sure to watch my Last.fm charts - I'm sure you'll see the boy bands climbing to #1 this week.