HOW TO DIE ON STAGE

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I felt nervous and excited before my first electronic music gig in 1989. Though I had played at school recitals  as a child, this was the first time I appeared in front of an audience with my own compositions. The Boreal Electro-Acoustic Music Society (BEAMS) began an ambitious series of concerts, the first being called Sonic Sunday, at Gazebo Park on Edmonton’s south side.

As a small crowd gathered, I checked my keyboard to make sure I hadn’t forgotten my batteries and that it was working. I made sure that my backing track cassette was cued and that I had given it to the sound man.

The weather was cloudy but warm as the first act played in the gazebo. The audience, about thirty people, sat on the grass in front and watched this free concert as others passed by on the sidewalk behind them. I also watched the first act as I rehearsed in my mind the list of tunes I’d play.

Then the host of the event mentioned my name. I plugged in my keyboard and announced the first track’s title. The loudness of the feedback monitor distracted me so I stepped behind it. Then I noticed another problem. My keyboard was in tune with the tape at home but out of tune with the deck at the park. Worse yet, I didn’t have a screw driver to re tune the keyboard. I soldiered on, wincing at the discordant notes but determined to finish the set.

I felt so embarrassed as I thanked the audience and left the gazebo. Then I walked over to the engineer and retrieved my tape. “How come it sounded out of tune?” I enquired. “It worked all right at home.”

“Cassette machines run at different speeds,”” he explained. “Your machine at home doesn’t run at the exact speed as this one.

I shuffled back to the audience, feeling sheepish that I hadn’t known such an elementary fact. I resolved then and there to bring a screw driver to the next gig and make sure my tape and keyboard were in tune during the sound check.

I mentioned my electronic music compositions in When a Man Loves a Rabbit: Learning and Living With Bunnies. It and Deliverance from Jericho are featured at the Bruce Atchison’s book link. Check the top left hand side of the page for details.

I also have a new book out called How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. Visit Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm Publishers for details.

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Author: bruce Atchison - author

I'm a legally-blind freelance writer as well as the author of three memoirs and scores of articles. Contact me for details.

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