THE FINAL TEST

Then suddenly he asked if I knew the popular soprano aria from Robert the Devil, by Meyerbeer. I answered, "Yes." "All right, play it," he said. So I carefully blew all the water out of my cornet, and at the sometime braced myself for this number, as I knew it required more endurance than any polka to interpret properly. Taking a little time in starting, I felt my confidence return, as I had been coached many times in this aria by my old bandmaster, who had explained its words and sentiment as well as its ramatic meaning in the opera; I really felt quite sure of myself. I certainly did my best, and played the entire aria faultlessly, thinking of each phrase as it was taught me, and putting all my knowledge of music into the rendition.

After I had finished, Mr. Gilmore came over to me, patted me on the back, and told me that he had been looking for a great cornet player who could play musically, with the endurance I had displayed this afternoon and at last he had found one! I nearly fell over on hearing this expression of enthusiasm regarding my playing, and had to sit down, All the playing I had just done had completely exhausted me, and his encouragement, coming on top of it all, actually knocked my legs from under me.

It was then that business was talked, I was asked if I was in anyway bound by contract in Toronto, or, if so, could I be released honorably. In answer I said that the Heintzman Piano Company, of whose band I was leader, would not stand in my way should I be fortunate enough to secure the position of cornet soloist in Gilmore's Band. Mr. Gilmore was too square a man to take away any player from an organization, unless it could be done ethically, and I always admired him for this characteri stic.

The position I had long sought was now offered me. I was told to report in New York early in April for rehearsals, these taking place before the regular Spring Tour through the New England States, which was succeeded by a month at Madison Square Garden, the entire summer at Manhattan Beach, with six weeks at St. Louis Exposition, and later a Fall Tour, returning to New York for Christmas. Imagine my happiness now, to have secured the highest position of any cornetist in the world. I could hardly believe it after all the worrying I had gone through during the whole morning. And yet, was it not just what I had been after all my life?