Can you believe it? I’ve reached 20 years at the National Ballet of Canada Orchestra!
They awarded me my 20-year anniversary pin!
Despite not playing in the pit this pandemic year, I still have many “tales from the pit” to share over the course of my career at the National Ballet of Canada.
Perhaps one of the more interesting (embarrassing?) ones is the time I dropped my violin in the middle of The Sleeping Beauty.
Yes. The instrument slipped right out from underneath my neck, out of my fingers and splat flat on the floor!
Act 2 was coming to a climactic ending: Aurora had just been kissed by the Prince and the magic spell that was cast on the entire kingdom had lifted. The entire court of royals had awakened from their slumber and a celebratory climax had been reached!
As the tremolos got louder in the strings (and there are A LOT of tremolos in Sleeping Beauty by the way!), my finger position on the E string climbed higher and higher ... and the bare violin against my pit black clothing proved to be a bit slippery that day.
...and WHOOP, there went my violin… SPLAT 💥on the floor.
For those of you that don’t play with a shoulder rest, THIS is why I hesitate to join you! 😖 I was not playing with a shoulder rest at the time and remember trying to keep my neck relaxed and shoulder down. (I'll have to share the story of how I got injured and couldn’t even lift a frying pan!)
So whatever you do, please don’t try this at home: playing without a shoulder rest, shifting up high on the E string, and keeping your left shoulder relaxed 😣.
I remember going into shock and disbelief.
I was still holding my bow in my right hand when I looked down to where my violin lay face down on the floor. The orchestra continued to surge in volume as Dominique, the Principal Second Violin, paused from her tremolo to bend down and scoop my instrument up from off the floor.
“It’s okay, Lynn”, she said as she quickly handed me back my instrument.
I snapped myself out of my shock and proceeded to check if my instrument was in tune.
I attempted to pluck the strings and discovered that my fingerboard was immediately protesting: giving way under my fingers and staring back at me at a terrifyingly jaunty angle.
Sooo... guess who SAT IN THE AUDIENCE for Act 3?🤦🏻♀️
(By the way, Act 3 in Sleeping Beauty is kind of slow 🤭)
As luck would have it, Johann, one of our violists and a viola maker (who's also celebrating 20 years!), took my violin home that very night and had the fingerboard glued and clamped overnight.
Can you believe I was back to playing the next Sunday matinee? 🙌
Moral of the story: Lynn goes without a shoulder rest at her own risk.
P.S. In addition to the next instalment of Tales from the Pit (stay tuned for Hamlet and a Gun Shooting), keep an eye out on my YouTube channel where I will soon release an unboxing video of a Kréddle chin rest - my attempt to explore a new set up... without a shoulder rest?? 😬
P.P.S. By the way, word got around fast in Toronto that weekend that Lynn needed to start strapping her instrument 🎻 to her neck during performances. 🙈
P.P.P.S. Not only will I be bringing my 20 years' worth of experience to my Violin Bootcamp 2.0 in January 2021, I have some incredible violinists with multiple decades' worth of collective orchestra and performance experience delivering guest masterclasses!
Would you like a sneak peek of who they are? Click here to see who my six amazing guest artists are!