Mine was on the first day of fourth grade.
My grammar school was layed out like a tree. There was a main hallway down the middle and one branch was K-1st grade, one branch was 2nd-3rd grade, and the other branch was 4th-5th grade. In the K-1st grade and 2nd-3rd grade the boys bathroom had always been on the right, and the girls bathroom on the left. Not in the 4th-5th grade branch. They were switched. So here I was on the first day of 4th grade, in a whole new part of the school. It was our bathroom break, and...yep. You guessed it! I waltzed right into the girl's bathroom! I looked around wondering why everything was pink and yellow and why there were no urinals and why everyone had grown out their hair. Then it hit me. I turned around and walked out to find both of my teachers (every class had two teachers) giving me "the look". You know, that look that says, "You shouldn't have done that and you're lucky I'm not sending you to the office for that, but you're still my favorite student and I won't send you to the office." all at the same time.
I was playing a gig as a bassist in a 50s show band on a makeshift set of stage risers constructed (barely) by the club, which didn't have a proper stage. Middle of an up tempo song, one measure of lively 16th note triplets on the snare, I spin & do a quick moonwalk shuffle from the front of the stage to the back as I always did there.
This time, however, the heel of my shoe snagged an edge on the stage, and I went flying backwards into a stack of bass amp / speaker cabinets, which scattered across the stage, and me, like a house of cards.
I yelled to the keyboard player to kick bass with his left hand, a horn player helped me up out of the rubble, and I quickly put the amps back together while they finished the song. The singers called for the next tune, the drummer counted it off, and I continued on pretending as if nothing had happened.
Well...not sure if I should tell this or not...but it's the most embarrassing day that's happened to me...so here goes...
Freshman Homecoming game...I'm sitting on the bleachers minding my own business waiting for my friends...It's my first highschool game, so I didn't know what was about to happen...the entire marching band comes running full speed at me so I get up to move out of the way and fell through the bleachers ripping my leg open on the way down, but didn't know it. I climb back onto the bleachers and start to mind my own business again...watching the game...my friends find me and panic! I'm surrounded by a pool of blood everywhere...all over the bleachers, in my shoe, on the ground below...so my friends drag me over to the principal who sees me and carries me to the ambulance I was so embarrassed!!
then once I'm home and recovered from that embarrassment - it's time for the dance.
I get to the dance in my semi-formal (strapless red satin with a big bow on the front...complete with bandage on my leg...)
The dance is underway and I'm having a great time with my friends when one of my guy friends comes over to me and straightens my bow and pulls my dress down!! I'm there basically naked in front of the whole school I wanted to die right there!! I still will not wear a strapless dress to this day.
Probably shouldn't have shared that but you asked...
Not as bad as MovieMaestro's, but it was traumatic anyway.
Seventh Grade. We all had to recite the Preamble to the Constitution. One by one, we got up. My turn came toward the end (the story of my life - last name starts with W.) as I began, I heard some chuckles. As I recited my well practiced oration, the laughter got loud. About halfway through, I looked down and noticed that my zipper was undone! I zipped up quickly and tried to finish, but I was so flustered that I couldn't remember the rest of it. I sat down and buried my head into my arms on my desk and just wanted to die. The class just laughed and giggled for about 5 minutes. We had to finish the rest of the students the next day because of the delay.
I later recited it perfectly to my teacher after class to get the credit.
This was the same year I entered the spelling bee and was best in my class, but when it came to the all-school one, I discovered I had REALLY BAD STAGE FRIGHT, and my mind went completely blank when my name was called and EVERYONE WAS STARING AT ME. I said I didn't know and walked to my seat. I was laughed at all the way to my seat and heckled for weeks afterward. I think it started with the recitation of the Preamble.
Since then, I have grown much more comfy with speaking to crowds and audiences, but wow - then it was just such a shock.
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Once for a solo and enseamble recital for my middle school orchestra my cello didn't feel like staying in one place. Slipping and sliding all through the brandenburg concerto no. 5, in front of an orchestra that already hated me (I never knew why ).
Just at camp this year the same thing happened for the chamber concert. It's interesting that this only happens with chamber groups and not orchestras. I had not realized that the stage was one of those portable ones and had not brought a rock stop, so there was absolutely nothing keeping my cello from sliding around, and my mom, being the camp photographer and stagemom, was sitting in the front row and took off her sneaker and handed it to me. It wasn't untill AFTER our group played (we were FIRST) that they put a rock stop up there for us.
Also at camp just this year, there was the solo performance hour. The solo performance hour is just a little performance hour in front of your orchestra, and I was the only non-violin that participated. I didn't realize untill during the hour that this was something I had to dress up mildly for. I was wearing jeans and a t-shirt!! I made a public apology excusing myself from the way I was dressed, and people were already singling me out for my non-violinness. At least my mom wasn't there to add to the embarrassment.
That's all for tonight. I can't sleep. Once I see a beetle in my bed I'm not going back in there for a while (if at all).
Playing in Santa Cruz with a fairly obscure but extremely brilliant avant garde alto saxophonist Sonny Simmons. No rehearsal, no charts, and (as usual with Sonny) no clue what is to come next. The previous song, Sonny has whispered in his wife's ear (trumpeter Barbara Donald, another really outside but beautifully coherent player,) and they proceed to play a pattern that seems to come from Slonimsky - jagged, broken harmonic sequence but repeated in various intervals. (I verified with Trumpet Lady later that this was not a head they had rehearsed, he 'simply' told her to follow his lead and play alternating fourths, fifth and third intervals in fourths, or something like that...)
What the hell is he going to call next? He turns around and says, "'Round Midnight." This is a song I have played dozens of times over the years, but only dozens, not hundreds, and I usually had the music, and I don't really know it very well without it, and Sonny NEVER plays 'tunes,' and I wasn't expecting it and - and -and...
I completely forgot the song. Drew a total blank. I could sense the melody, but no way could I find relevant chords. Eventually I just stopped, it was so bad.
After it was over and we walked off the stage, the club manager came over to us and said, "Sonny, Leonard Bernstein would like to meet you."
I don't play 'Round Midnight to this day, if I have a choice. Stupid superstition, but I just don't want to play it...
------- It's all about the music - really. I keep telling myself that...