If you are a performer, you know that there are always certain things that you check for before you leave for a gig.
3) Clothes (if you aren’t wearing them already)
If you have these things then everything will be fine— forgetting a water bottle or your instrument stand won’t derail your performance— but those three things certainly might!
To give a little insight into how I forgot my clothes, I’ll give a little backstory.
The day before the incident (that will be known forever as “The Day Laura Forgot Her Clothes Like An Idiot”) I had one of the WORST days in traffic I have ever experienced in my entire life! I have lived in New Jersey, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC so needless to say I have experienced a lot of crappy traffic jams in my life, but this day was special. There was a bomb scare on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge (one of the main bridges to get across the Potomac— VERY IMPORTANT BRIDGE!), and since they had to close down all the local lanes on the bridge… well you can imagine! There were army tanks, a bomb squad car, dozens of police, firetrucks— the works!!! Thankfully, there wasn’t really a bomb— but my stress level had gone through the roof (Every hour in traffic was another hour I was afraid my puppy Bear was going to have an accident in his crate!). Later that day (about 30 minutes), after I’d already spent 6 hours in the car, I had to go across the same bridge to pick up my husband at Andrews Air Force Base. So total time in the car was 8 hours that day! Fun! All I’m trying to make clear is that my stress level was really high before “The Day Laura Forgot Her Clothes Like An Idiot.”
District5 was playing on a concert series in Chestertown, MD, about 2 hours from where I live in Alexandria. The plan was to drive to pick up Alison in Cheverly, and then she would drive the rest of the way. We had to leave very early for the concert because it was a long drive and we wanted to be cautious. I was flustered all morning— running errands, getting my stuff together, I had lost some of my music so I was dashing out to Staples to get printer ink, banging on the printer trying to get it to work, trying to figure out what I was wearing… AH! My head was spinning— I’m sure some readers of this blog post have felt the same way at some point! I had put my dress, shoes, make-up, hair products, etc. in a tote bag to bring with me to the concert. And, as you all can guess, I left it at home. ARG. Of course, I didn’t notice until I was already in Cheverly. I called Alison in a panic….”I FORGOT MY CLOTHES…AHHHHHHH! I’M SUCH AN IDIOT!” I didn’t have time to drive back and get it, and my husband couldn’t bring me my clothes.
If there is one thing that you can count on with Alison, it is that she can remain cool and calm in an easily panic-inducing situation! She said (after chuckling a little at me) “Don’t worry, we will figure something out! I will get all the clothes out that I have that might work and we’ll figure it out!” Now, for those readers who don’t know, I’m about 5’ 1 and Alison is probably at least 8 inches taller than me…. so I was still panicking a little bit (OK a lot). (We were playing on a professional concert series and the dress was supposed to be formal!) I also wear a shoe size 4 1/2 so the likelihood of finding shoes that would fit was 0%. These are the shoes I was wearing:
When I arrived at Alison’s, she already had all the clothes laid out— and my God it was a miracle— she had the dress she wore as a bridesmaid in my very own wedding! The dress is an “infinity dress” and surprisingly is a one-size-fits-all dress. The straps can be arranged in a million different ways so it fits anybody! If you haven’t heard of one before you might be thinking that it sounds funny— but it really does fit everyone!!!! I blew out a sigh of relief— this was going to work!!! The dress was a little long but it worked to cover up my boots! YAYYYYYYYY! Alison saves the day— but I knew that getting married had paid off!
I borrowed make-up, Laura B did my hair, and “Voila!”, nobody in the audience was the wiser that I had forgotten my clothes. Heck— I probably looked better in that dress then the one I originally planned to wear! Did I almost trip on the dress a couple times? Maybe— but did I fall on my face—Nope! The concert went great and the whole group looked great!
The moral of the story: Every chamber music group/performer/person needs an infinity dress stuffed into the back of their closet. Also— having amazing people in your group helps a ton! We now know that literally anyone in our group (Yes, even Eddie!) could wear this dress in a pinch!
This is Alison in the same dress at my wedding!