Friday, January 14, 2011

Uncle Sal and the Challenging Choirmaster (Episode 178)

Inside A Boy Named Sushi, Uncle Sal slid into a booth across from Sister Mary Evelyn. Just by the expression on her face, he could see he was going to need some liquid help. Before she could launch into anything, he ordered a hot sake. "What's wrong? You look like you just found out your pet was kidnapped."

Mary Evelyn sighed and said, "It's the new choir director Anthony Slate. Sal, he's really great, but a lot of the members of the choir have complained about him."

A waiter arrived at the table. Uncle Sal put in his order for eel, longneck clam, and red snapper, then removed the chopsticks from the pocket of his gecko-print guayabera shirt.

"If he's so good, why are they complaining about him?"

"He's a good singer. I mean, when he sings, it just stirs up all sorts of things inside me. His voice is truly a gift. Seriously Sal, he sounds a bit like Tony Bennett. The trouble is that he's too demanding. Everyone in the choir of course volunteers to be there. They do it because they like to sing and be a part of the church. But Anthony has been holding practices more frequently. And they're longer too. In the middle of the week, he's holding practices that last for two hours. That's pretty tough for people that are working eight hours a day."

Uncle Sal reached for the soy sauce and wasabi. He spooned enough wasabi onto his saucer to clear anyone's nasal passages for a week. He poured a small lake of soy sauce on top of it and mixed it with his chopsticks. He licked the chopsticks and was satisfied that he had gotten the mixture right on the first try.

"And he's giving them more complex parts, asking them to sing things that aren't really in their range. It's like he thinks he's dealing with professional musicians. Our choir is good. Frankly, I think it's the best in town. But they're not professionals. I understand that Anthony is only trying to make it better, and he would know how with his classical training. I hope they don't complain so much that he decides to leave, but goodness gracious, Slate galls the choir."

This episode featured:
Pedro "Pipes" Hamelin as Uncle Sal
Chantal Tenor as Sister Mary Evelyn
Hiroshi Soprano as the waiter
Jellybean Merengue as the chopsticks.

Tune in next week when Uncle Sal says, "The trouble with mornings is that they come when you're not awake."

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