GENRE: MG Contemporary
Grace has big plans for seventh grade—ace her classes (like always), sit first chair violin (easy peasy) and win a spot on All-City Orchestra. But when her gym teacher introduces a graded swimming unit, Grace fears she won’t make High Honors—a requirement for All-City musicians. Before her musical dreams float away, Grace needs to replace her dorky doggie paddle with front crawl. Too bad asking for help is worse than diving head-first into the deep end.
The day Miss K asks me to play a violin solo in sixth period orchestra, my head swells like a puffer fish. I can’t wait to show off my perfect pitch and rhythm, since most days it’s smothered by the second violins, their bows grinding the strings like bare fingernails scraping a chalkboard.
“Everyone listen up,” Miss K says, tapping her baton against a music stand. “Grace is going to play a selection from Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, the Mozart piece for this year’s All-City auditions.”
Before she can say, “Take it from measure one,” I dive into the melody, my fingers flying. Even though the tempo is allegro, I kick it up a notch, zipping through the eighth note passages without even looking at the music. Miss K’s got to be impressed. I mean, it’s only March and I have the whole thing memorized.
I’m lost somewhere on page two, trying to amaze Miss K with my vibrato, when she claps her hands. “You can stop right there Grace. Thank you.”
Bella, an annoying eighth grader who sits next to me, stops texting under her sheet music long enough to let out a snort. “Finally,” she sneers. “Thought you were gonna play all day.”
I’m considering saying, “At least I don’t sound like a screech owl,” when Miss K steps onto the podium. “All-City auditions are the end of April,” she says. “The top player from each section- violins, violas and cellos- will be chosen to represent our school.”