I played the bass clarinet in the concert band the four years I was in college at Concordia-Moorhead. One day during my sophomore year, visiting high schoolers considering attending Concordia observed a band rehearsal. I had an odd sensation of being observed, and noticed that one of the visitors was staring at me with what I could only interpret as intense loathing.

The following fall, the staring girl showed up at Concordia as a declared music major who played the bass clarinet. To her dismay, she was offered a spot in the band as a contrabass clarinet player. I was the better player, so I got the bass clarinet position. I spent the next year sitting next to her in band, and she continued to treat me with loathing, since I, a non-music major, had the chair in band she wanted. Nothing I did was was right, and she sure let me know that. She mercifully transferred to Arizona State University the next year.

I have been careful in the ensuing years to treat my fellow musicians well because there is nothing worse than sitting next to someone in a musical ensemble who is mad at you. There is often a lot of emotion in musical ensembles. I have been challenged lately, though, by the antics of a newer member of our church choir. She is a lovely person in her 50’s who is probably someone with ADHD who has never been treated for it. She was sitting next to me until recently. She sways when she sings, which absolutely drives me nuts. She doesn’t read music very well. She sways out of time. I was able to cheerfully tell her that I was going to tie her to her chair if she didn’t stop moving. She was gracious enough to accept this with some humor. She stopped swaying, but moved away to the end of the row. That makes me a little sad, but at least I am less annoyed, and she isn’t afraid I will assault her.

When have you had to work with someone who loathed you? What musical ensembles have you performed with? What do other people do that drive you crazy?

44 thoughts on “Discord”

  1. Coming out of the army early in 1972, I started college at a 2-year place where I majored in Spanish and joined a choir and eventually a chamber chorale. It was wonderful! Transferring, as a junior, to a little Bible college. Spanish was still my major. I joined a men’s choir that included a lot of guys who were not musicians (neither am I) nor could sing. After one concert, word came back that “one of the tenors bounced up and down too much.” It was me.
    The guy who sat and stood to my right took it upon himself to hold me down. I took it upon myself to dislike him, intensely for a while. Eventually I realized that I was only hurting myself, and took on a neutral attitude toward him, eventually growing to a friendship. I tired of the men’s choir after a semester, and have almost not sung for more than 50 years. The biggest take-away from the experience was not musical, it was what I learned from Randy, the guy who held me down.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. The Birds and I are currently working on this. Admittedly we are not as good as the cockatiel featured here but the music always them chirping. My whistling needs work.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. I don’t remember feeling loathing from anyone, but I did have a boss, when I was manager of the vet clinic, who loathed having to sit down to a meeting with me. He loathed having to spend his time in any kind of meetings. I lasted 6 months, and quit just before he was going to fire me.

    I’ve sung in choirs almost everywhere I’ve lived since high school – San Francisco Civic Chorale, Oratorio Society (St. Paul, met at Hamline U), and my favorite, Prospect Park Community Choir. And now our UU music groups, the band (at the moment just two guitars, and I’m rhythm) and choir. I am a swayer lately (I wonder if it has to do with aging?), but try to hold it down when I’m aware of it.

    Lots of things drive me nuts – what comes to mind is when I ask someone something and they ignore me.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Robin was also a member of the Prospect Park choir. I remember there was one member who was often placed somewhere in the middle of the choir for concerts who bobbed when she sang and not just a little bit. It was really distracting and comical. I used to refer to her as “Bob”.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. It is annoying g to watch flute players who lift their flutes dramatically at the end of musical phrases. I once saw a whole high school flute section do that, looking as though theybwere getting ready to fly off. It wastes good breath support when the do that.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. In middle school, chorus practice always followed band. I hated them for the spit deposited on the platforms. And I cannot watch Breakfast At Tiffany’s after having slogged through Moon River for an eternity (seventh-grader time).

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Rise and Bump Off Your Competition, Baboons,

    Renee, I don’t ever remember having to cope with that kind of Band member hostility from someone who did not even know me. It is unusual, and it makes me wonder what kind of life the contrabass player made for herself. I did have to cope with cousins who loathed me just because my mom decided to make them behave according to her rules. That did not work out well for me.

    However, church choirs seem to be petri dishes for conflict. I sang alto until around the year 2000. I sat in various places but at the end of my alto career, I sat at the end of the aisle next to woman who experienced fertility issues. She was not a good singer but she thought she was. She was also a middle school teacher with a checkered reputation because she had no discipline in the classroom. She and her husband finally adopted two children in an international adoption. And then things in choir became utterly unbearable. She brought the kids to choir practice where they had the run of the church, the sanctuary, and the choir area. They constantly climbed over me to get to Mom, to the point that they hit me in the face with toys and flying elbows. I asked her to contain them after I had a bruise. No. I suggested we switch places. No. I arrived earlier to sit in a different place, which worked for awhile until another alto singer moved away, and we were re-arranged so I sat next to her. After the bruise I discussed the problem with the choir director, who said other choir members were also complaining.
    The alto had always been a problem. She talked with the minister. The minister talked to the alto singer, who got mad and spread the story of my unreasonable expectations all over the church. And I left the choir and joined another committee.

    Fifteen years later I ran into a tenor singer at the gym. He told me that she had just recirculated the story yet again. Eventually, the choir numbers were way down because people quit for many reasons, but this behavior was part of it.

    Man, oh, man, oh man.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. I’m a hummer. It’s not something that I think about or am aware of doing, but apparently I often hum to myself. How do I know this? My office mate, Mrs. Kiehl, at the first office job I ever had told me so. Repeatedly. What she actually said was: “Miss Pedersen, will you please shut up.” This would silence me for a while, but once I was no longer concentrating on being quiet, I began humming again. This went on for the entire two years that I worked in that small, local newspaper office. Either she learned to tune me out, or she accepted that I meant no harm, as she was sad to see me go when I left. She bought me a leather cover for my passport, which I still have, as a farewell gift as I headed off to Switzerland.

    I’m still a hummer. I know this because from time to time someone will say to me when I’m out shopping: “My, you sound cheerful.” Apparently I hum, even when I’m not feeling particularly cheerful, but I don’t bother telling people that.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. “Intense loathing” seems like an extreme emotion to me, especially toward someone you don’t know. Prior to the previous administration, I don’t recall ever having that strong of a dislike of anyone I didn’t know. There have been people I didn’t care for, even a few that I actually disliked, but I tend to not invest much energy of any kind in people I don’t care for, for whatever reason, and try to minimize my contact with them.

    Recently on Jeopardy they had a contestant that became a four game winner. His name was Jake, and he obviously had a broad range of knowledge. He also had some really odd behaviors that I, and lots of other people, found annoying. He seemed arrogant and condescending, really off-putting. By the start of game number three it dawned on me that his behaviors weren’t “normal,” and I began to suspect that he is neurodivergent. His odd gestures when celebrating a correct response or the win of a game, weren’t an expression of arrogance but merely his own unique way of expressing himself. I’ll admit that it didn’t make him less annoying to me, but I realized that it probably said more about me than it did about him.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. thanks
      i was thinking about her the other day and how happy she was to find photography
      we knew her before photography and the before and after ljb weren’t even comparable
      she was so happy

      Liked by 5 people

  9. I’ve sung in numerous groups beginning in high school. I was in choirs and chamber singers and a quartet called DaCapo Singers in high school. I also played flute in concert band and marching band. Keeping the flute level is important for tone quality and it takes practice. We learned to space ourselves out a bit so that we didn’t hit someone with the end of the flute. I sang in Manitou Singers my freshman year at St. Olaf. Beginning in the early 1990s, I started playing and singing in a couple of folk ensembles. We had a group in Faribault which ended when one person moved away. Then I started going over to Mankato to the Bothy Folk Club where I met lots of other amateur folk musicians. I was in a couple of different groups over there, mostly the group called the Flathead Cats. (We were named by a fisheries biologist.) I also sang in a group of women called the Downhome Divas. I sang with various groups on an impromptu basis at Rock Bend Folk Festival and, after Marcie moved to Two Harbors, I sang the Rock Bend song with its writer, Bruce Davis and his band mate, Bill Smith. In all that time and in all of the groups, I never once felt intense loathing for anyone or from anyone. There certainly IS a lot of competition and often friction in music but I knew that I was an amateur and I was just very happy to play and, especially, to sing. I guess I was lucky, or maybe just unaware of any negative energy that might have been directed toward me. So I’ll just continue to believe I never experienced it.

    That said, we had a bass player in the Flathead Cats who was, and still is, an extremely unusual person. He’s highly intelligent and very talented musically. He loves trivia and history. Some of his personal habits are, well, very unappealing though. He could be quite annoying. Sometimes he would pass gas – yes – and then spin his upright bass to diffuse the odor. Because I was next to him, it usually diffused in my direction. So I knew to take a step away if possible when he spun his bass. He was no joy to sit next to in a restaurant or public place either, so he was annoying, but I didn’t loathe him. Our accordion player got really angry one final time though. Dave was a social worker at the Meyering Center in Mankato. I had worked with DD people for most of my career. We accepted gigs for events for people with disabilities quite often and didn’t get paid much. Once there was a man who really wanted to play with the band. He was standing up in the audience and dancing and singing along, with a lot of joy. So I offered him a shaker and told him to come on up and stand next to me. He was thrilled and ran up, shaking his new instrument, smiling, singing, and dancing next to me. Our bass player, Riff, was instantly upset. He grabbed that huge upright bass and promptly took it down to the other end. He was really upset. I’d never seen anything like it. Later he said, “I didn’t want that noise next to ME!” I was appalled, so was the accordion player. I forgave Riff for it as time went by but the accordion player didn’t. He quit our band because he didn’t want to be seen playing music with Riff anymore. It was really hurtful and upsetting. I tried really hard to convince Dave to stay but he was angry. Later he became angry with me for my ability to forgive Riff. The way I saw it, Riff was kind of special needs too and he didn’t seem to realize how offensive his behavior had been. So there was that… I wouldn’t call it intense loathing but it certainly had an impact on the rest of our time as a folk group. We became a trio and played together for a couple more years, then it just sort of lost steam. I still sing with Gordon, the guitar player, from time to time. I played mandolin in that group.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s amazing how complex human relations can be. We tried out a new band member this fall, and she turned out to be extremely self-absorbed, couldn’t take even the slightest correction, and ended up dropping out. Sigh… still looking for one more person to fill things out.

      Liked by 4 people

  10. A lot of my workmates hated my guts. At a very large hospital project in Springfield, Ohio, I was given oversight of a crew of 20. I’m sure only 2 or 3 of them wanted me there. My work ethic of honest labor for honest pay got in the way. I was not senior in the union but jumped a couple of guys to lead man. This was mostly because of a very successful project at the Federal Courthouse in Columbus, Ohio which I handled with minimal staff. At Springfield, the company brought in union guys from across Ohio. Believe me, I am very pro-union. But our contracts have stipulations about productivity and too many of these guys were just damn lazy! I called them out. Several times there were messages written on the back of uninstalled sheet vinyl, “F…k Wes.” Lots of calls to the office about how I was laying out the project should have required meetings with the perturbed people but only one man had the guts to show up. I took the high road and incorporated his suggestions into the work. The friendly people let me know that a ” Wes Walk” was a thing. I guess it would now be a meme. 100 miles an hour throughout the building! I’m rather proud of that.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. The real estate market here is very hot which nearly doubled the value. There are water problems on the way which it appears will cause a lot of scarcity. Therefore, we decided to get out of the real estate market while it is to our financial advantage. Also our grandchildren grew up so the Saturday baseball, football, soccer games are done. They have jobs, girlfriends and other things to do. One of our kids also is concerned about water and people flooding Arizona with new population for whom there is no water. She is considering returning to MN.

        Liked by 2 people

  11. My last boss at Software, Etc. wanted to be rid of me. I don’t think he losthed me, but he inherited three of us from the previous beloved boss and couldn’t wait to get rid of all of us as “dead wood“. He actually tried to hang a couple of discrepancies on me my last few months there, but he got no traction whatsoever with the Loss Prevention and Security Department. All the deadwood eventually moved on and then they moved him to Texas. Then just six months later the company folded. My girlfriend and I split a bottle of champagne when we heard that news.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. One of the more awkward moments in my relationship with the disgruntled contrbass player was when we were assigned to be roommates on band tour. I must say, though, that after she transferred to ASU and came back for a visit to Concordia, she was happy and very friendly with me. That was nice.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.