Friday, November 7, 2014

The Orchestra's Tale: The Story of Giuseppe the Violin and Johann the Flute

Giuseppe the Violin and Johann the Flute are sick of sitting on the shelf. Years ago, famous musicians Giuseppe Tartini and Johann Sebastian Bach played the two instruments for adoring crowds. 

When retired Conductor Franz Melodia of the Luneburg Symphony Orchestra lost his funding, he could no longer put on performances for the community. 

Even his son, George, had become more interested in his electronic instruments and never played the Violin and the Flute. “Dad, I like my electric guitar,” he said. Sadly enough, if Franz could not get the Orchestra back on its feet, he would have to sell the instruments and work at the local butcher shop.

“I hate pork,” Franz said. “Pork chops, pork loin, bacon bits, pork rib, pork leg, and glazed ham. I feel like I’ve been chopped!” 

Each time Franz tried to talk to his son about learning to play Giuseppe and Johann, George put on his earphones and drowned out his father. 

“What did you say, Dad?” George said, turning up the volume. “I can’t hear you.”

Despite the Orchestra’s bleak future, Franz kept Giuseppe and Johann on his living room mantle, hoping for a financier for the Orchestra. 

Giuseppe and Johann had been sitting on the mantle for so long that dust built up in the instruments’ crevices. 

“I want to scratch an itch,” Giuseppe said, “but I can’t even do that from this shelf . . .”

“I can’t imagine how the rest of the Orchestra feels shoved into that closet,” Johann said. “Clara must be out of tune with worry . . .”

Months ago, Franz boxed up the other instruments and put them in his hall closet, including: Pablo the Piccolo, Ole the Oboe, Robert the Bassoon, Richard the Double Bassoon, Fanny the French Horn, Peter the Trumpet, David the Trombone, Antonio the Tuba, Sebastian the Saxophone, Wolfgang the Viola, Ludwig the Cello, Libby the Double Bass, Amy the Piano, Elizabeth the Harp, Arcangelo the Timpani, Frederic the Xylophone, Sergei the Cymbals, Mischa the Triangle, Gustav the Snare Drum, Niccolo the Bass Drum, Augusta the Tambourine, Ruth the Maracas, Joan the Gongs, and Jennifer the Chimes. 

Only Clara the Clarinet had broken out of her box to come visit Giuseppe and Johann on the shelf. “My love,” she said to Johann, kissing his mouthpiece. “But I must go before Franz finds me . . .” Once upon a time, she and Johann played gorgeous duets and were madly in love ever since their first solos. 


As time passed, Giuseppe and Johann decided that they would have to organize the return of the Luneburg Symphony Orchestra by themselves.

“Synthesized music is not going to destroy the Orchestra,” Giuseppe said.  

“Clara can’t live in the closet anymore,” Johann said. “True love demands that we are together.”

“When Franz and George take their annual summer vacation, we’re organizing a revival of the Orchestra,” Giuseppe said. “And that is the final note.” 

After Franz and George packed their bags for Blue Mountain Lake, Giuseppe and Johann snuck the Orchestra out of the closet to the Luneburg Symphony Concert Hall.

One at a time, the instruments slipped through the Hall’s backstage door and waited in the wings. Despite the exhausted instruments, Giuseppe demanded the Orchestra perfect enough material for an entire concert.   

“We are an Orchestra, and we are going to sound like one!” he said. “Without musicians to play us, we will play ourselves.”

At first the Orchestra sounded terrible, trying to pluck their own strings and play their own notes, but Giuseppe and Johann said: “Practice makes perfect.” 

So, the Orchestra played until they overcame their problems, and Bach’s Sonata in G minor sounded especially spectacular. Days later, when Franz and George returned from their vacation, Franz found his closet door open.

“Oh me! Oh my! The instruments are missing! Giuseppe! Johann! Where are you?” Franz cried, reaching for the phone. “Police! Get over here quick. Someone stole my Orchestra.”

“Finding an Orchestra of instruments is not going to be a priority,” the police officer said. “I have real criminals to catch!”

“I will offer a reward!” Franz said. “$2,000 to the person who finds them!”

“Are you sure the instruments are really worth $2,000, Dad?” George said, after Franz hung up the telephone.

“If I get those instruments back, I’m keeping the reward money,” he told George. “I’m selling those stupid instruments to the highest bidder and putting the past in the past.” 

In the meantime, the Orchestra hid out at the Concert Hall and advertised their upcoming Sunday afternoon show. 

“We’re never leaving the stage again!” Giuseppe said to Johann. “Never ever!”

Walking to the butcher the next morning, Franz was befuddled to find a flyer for the Sunday concert. 

“I’m buying two tickets to the Luneburg Symphony Concert Hall show,” he mumbled. “I’m going to find out who stole my instruments.”

As the Sunday performance began, Franz shifted in his seat, astounded to find his instruments playing themselves on stage to a sold-out show. 

Clenching his program, Franz could hardly sit still until the performance finished, holding George by his suspenders to keep him from rushing the stage. 

“You can’t interrupt the show, Son!” Franz whispered. “It will only make things worse.”

“But Dad, how did Giuseppe and Johann get up there without us?” George said.

“Son, I had no idea what the Orchestra was capable of performing,” Franz said, tearing up. The pitch-perfect show ended to a standing ovation with several rounds of applause.

“Do you know who that is, George?” Franz said, almost passing out when he recognized audience member Jonathan Bach II, a long-lost relative of Johann Sebastian Bach. 

Bach II clapped from the front row with his wife and three children.

“The Violin! Superb! The Flute! Divine!” Bach II cheered, taking the stage. “I will finance the Orchestra, refurbish the Concert Hall, and conduct the performances. These are my family’s instruments. They are my inheritance! Solos for Giuseppe! Duets with Johann and Clara!”

“Maybe I should learn to play the Violin and the Flute after all,” George said, curling up in his chair.

“The Orchestra has come back to life!” Franz said, running to Jonathan and hugging him in tears.

From then on, Giuseppe and Johann played beautiful music, and the whole world knew the Orchestra’s Tale.


Copyright 2016 Jennifer Waters

Dedicated to my great-grandfather, Robert Moyer, who played the clarinet in Brown's Church Band, and dedicated to my grandmother, Augusta Renner Graf Waters, for her Conservatory Violin.

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