News & Views Monday, April 22, 2019

Stranger Than Fiction: TRUE Stanton’s Stories Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Music-Headerrespectfully compiled by Dan C., Stanton’s Resident Jokester

As a retail sheet music store open to the public with a popular website, Stanton’s is often the source for some humorous, true music stories. So, we would like to poke some good-natured fun at ourselves, our customers (teachers, students, and parents) and the publishers with whom we do business – in other words, our fallible, fellow musicians.

Interview-questions-square-image-1024x768Parents and school secretaries who are non-musicians often try their best with titles that they have been requested to order, but they sometimes fall short.
– “I need a book for my daughter. I think it’s called 100% Sonnets…” (It turned out to be Strictly Classics.)
– A secretary, trying to read a band director’s handwriting requested the Jillian Bird State (William Byrd Suite) when she typed a purchase order.
– We’ve had requests for Sound Interventions as well as Sound Invocations (Sound Innovations); Bach Partishas for unaccompanied violin (Bach Partitas); Rubank Intermittent Method and the Intermediate Rubonic Book (Rubank Intermediate Method)

Other twisted pronunciations of titles include: Rice or Care (Ricercare), Ah-Zer-Ree Skies (Azure Skies), Canzona Amma-Bile (Canzona Amabile), Watch it off (Wachet Auf), Well Tempered Clavical (Well Tempered Clavier), The Virtue of a Pianist (The Virtuoso Pianist), Bach Interventions and even Baja Invasions (Bach Inventions), 24 Italian Part Songs (24 Italian Songs and Arias), The Anthropology of Country Music (The Anthology of Country Music), Bach and Beforehand (Bach and Before), Mitteral Book 1 (Muller-Rusch Book 1), For Elaine (Fur Elise), and the inevitable Taco Bell Canon and believe it or not, Conkle Shell Canon (Pachelbel Canon). And we hope the band director who asked for Quick Toxic Episode (Quixotic Episode) wasn’t looking for some fast acting poison!

professor-questions-100-leftForeign titles and publishers’ names can be tricky sometimes, but when a doctoral vocal performance candidate asked for Dye-for-Ell (Die Forelle by Schubert) we had to shake our heads in dismay. A customer with a deep Southern drawl requested a choir piece he was sure was published by Swanee (Shawnee) Press. Then there was the student who wanted a solo, but it had to be the Fuzzy Mohawk edition – turns out it was Boosey & Hawkes. We still call them Fuzzy Mohawk here at the store just because it’s fun!

Composer’s names often trip people up as well. We’ve had requests for The Swan by Saint Dawns (Saint-Saens) and pieces written by Charles Sorry (Sayre) and John Cavacas (Cacavas) and Jay Boocock (Bocook). Then there was a piano teacher who asked a friend to pick up some music for her. The list included To a Wild Rose by Grieg (actually it’s MacDowell) and Pictures at an Exhibition by Bartok (actually it’s Moussorgsky). Violin teachers will tell students to get “the Wohlfahrt book” (there are 24 of them) or “the Sevcik book” (there are 60 of them) with no other information – they’ve used the book for so many years, they have forgotten the actual title! Publishers get into the act as well. We had to smile when a publisher’s invoice truncated a title to read “Lip Flexibilities for All Bras” (Brass). Then there was a young publisher representative on the phone who couldn’t find a listing for Sue Satto, not realizing it was Tielman Susato; but hey, he was new at the company and a jazz drummer, so he could be forgiven.

We’ve had requests for Toots (Etudes), Reebs (Reeds – including flute reebs) and Wands… “Do you have wands? You know, director’s wands?” Aah…batons!

In the “I should have been a dentist since I’ve pulled so many teeth” Department:
An actual phone conversation…
“Do you have the book, Lessons for Beginning Violin? I see it on your website.”
Type-type-type “I can’t find that title on our system. Do you still have it up on your screen?”
“What’s the catalog number?”
Real title: Step One: Teach Yourself Violin
Nowhere on the book does it say Lessons for Beginning Violin.

An actual in-store conversation…
“Do you have Suzuki string books?”
“Yes – do you need violin, viola, cello, or bass?”
“Uh, Volume 6”
“Okay – for violin, viola, cello, or bass?”
“Uh – piano accompaniment.”
“All right – for violin, viola, cello or bass?!?”
(Is there an echo in here?)

These scenarios could almost be frightening if you didn’t keep your sense of humor. The subject line from an email maybe sums it up the best. The writer was needing information on Stanton’s Church Choral Reading Clinic and the subject line read “Scared Music Reading Session.”

About the Author:
Dan C. has worked at Stanton’s since 1979, primarily with orchestra music and print promotions. A “working” musician, he’s a classical cellist, a rock & jazz bassist and a folk & country guitarist/singer. His free time is spent with family or reading, gardening, cycling and working puzzles. His series of musical puzzles (RP3 Rebus Puzzle Picture People) can be found on the Stanton’s Facebook page each Sunday. He also has a reputation as a pretty good joke teller. Seriously.

< Previous|Next >