"Hold on, Hold on! Stop!" Our instruments screech into silence, and I glance nervously first back at Nick behind his kit, and then at Jonathan just behind me on stage left. Surly, Billy can't be referring to me. Then I look straight into our "music director's" eyes, and it's true: I was the cause for our band rehearsal disruption. "You've got to look like you're not concentrating so hard Meg. Use wide motions like this!" he exclaims as he jumps off his conductor's couch and snatches the tambourine from my startled hand. "Now, are you right or left-handed?" he inquires. "I'm left…and right handed" I stammer. Billy shrugs his shoulders and guffaws in despair. "Left and right handed?! "Well, yeah… You see." He holds a hand up and I am silenced.
We start the song over. I try to slap a silly grin on my face and force my brows to separate and lower back to their normal positions. We continue on for a few moments. I'm finally getting the hang of a percussion instrument. "Wait, wait!" We stop again after another 15 seconds. "Now, on that measure toss the tambourine on the floor and play the second half of the chorus on the guitar. Then…" He swiftly flies across the stage, rescues a lonely floor tom off in a corner and plunks it down on my left side. "Can you play this tom with your left hand and smack the tambourine on your right hip with your right hand on the off beats?" One never says "no" to Billy. He has those piercing sky-blue eyes that mesmerize you into immediate obedience. (You know the ones.)
"Start at the beginning" he shouts from the the back of the room as he makes a twirling motion with his right index finger. I'm doing fine during the intro when I'm just whistling and playing tambourine. "I can do this. I can do this." I think to myself. The chorus comes. I focus with all my might on playing tom with left hand, tambourine with right, singing, and maintaining a look of peace on my face with a gentle smile. My first beat was a failure since I couldn't seem to locate my right hip, and the tambourine slammed into an acoustic guitar on a stand behind me. (Good thing we have a deal with Fender right now, huh?)
It got better. Dia backed me up with a comment, "The only thing Asians are good at doing with sticks is eating rice."
Not to worry, by the time we go on tour next year, I'm going to be twirling drumsticks and playing my guitar with my teeth! Also, as much as I've been painting Billy like a bully, he's really the best thing that has happened to us as far as rehearsals go. I shudder to think what we would sound and look like without his expert advice and direction, and it helps that this music director of ours comes complete with a witty sense of humor and unflinching support and faith in us.You're the bestest Billy!