MY CAREER AS SOLOIST BEGINS

After playing at the Academy several weeks, I mentioned one day that it might be a novel little "stunt" for me to play a cornet solo when performing with the band outside, This band, which was composed of splendid musicians, was very popular, both afternoon and evening concerts drawing large audiences, and I was programmed for a solo the following week. I played seated with the orchestra in a balcony over the entrance about twenty feet above the street, and no one could see me. As it had always been a tria for me to play facing an audience, I acquired more confidence by being out of sight, and the solo "took." For the rest of the season I played this way each week, and due to the necessity of learning new pieces found my repertoire becoming more extensive. Thus realty commenced my career as a soloist. My practice at this time consisted of a morning session with the cornet. Playing two shows a day, three hours each, I considered was enough time to spend on the viola, so I left that in the theatre.

This venture into music once more was a disappointment to my parents, but I felt that I must make a living some way, and music seemed to be thrust upon me continually. Too, the theatre engagement paid me better than would have a position as clerk with some business house.

My pleasure in the work was increased when, while playing in the balcony, I looked into the windows of the bank across the street and realized that there was a chance I might have been one of the young clerks bending over books keeping accounts, and waiting for a small raise in the ten-dollar-a-week salary on which they had started. And it was perhaps a youthful pride that made me feel whenever one glanced up at me that surely he would be delighted to change places. Although my job in the theatre was hard,from a musician's standpoint, it was not so confining as working in a bank, and was more interesting.