I wish I had spoken up….

Have you ever had that moment when something happens that is so in appropriate that you just stand in stunned silence?  Unable to grasp what just happened?  Unable to find the words to right the wrong or speak to seek understanding of what just happened?

Well that happened to me last night.  I can’t stop thinking about it and so this has become my slice today.

It happened at orchestra rehearsal.  I play the french horn and have played it since elementary school. I’ve been around musicians for most of my life and have never encountered this type of behavior before.

We had separated into sectional rehearsal and our group, 3 trumpets, 2 horns, tuba and a trombone were rehearsing “Stairway to Heaven” and “Bohemian Rhapsody.”  Apparently there were words exchanged by two of the trumpet players that no one else in the group heard.  We had a relatively good rehearsal and then, at the end,  the young trombone player was saying, “Good rehearsal everyone!” When suddenly,  a veteran trumpet player got into the face of one of the young college trumpet players.  I mean he was inches from his face.  Yelling at him, cursing and throwing his music. Over what?  I don’t really care what it was, nothing would justify such behavior in my mind. It was totally absurd and uncalled for.  The rest of us all stood stunned.  No one said anything as the young man that was yelled at sat redfaced and asserted that he thought he was joking.

I guess the icing on the cake was that older gentleman that should know better was telling the story of what he did and said to some other members of the orchestra and laughing.

I wish I would have said something then.  I feel like a coward.   I did stay back and try to talk to the young man to see if he was okay.  But now.. the next day, I really really wish I would have spoken what was on my mind at the time.

I will be talking to the conductor about the incident, but still feel that it isn’t enough.

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14 thoughts on “I wish I had spoken up….

  1. Yikes! What could have been said to cause such a bad situation? You know, I think and it’s only my opinion, but you did the right thing staying out of it when tempers were high as they were. Hopefully the conductor can speak to them privately so something like this doesn’t happen again. On a lighter note, I see you are a musician. I highly recommend the book “The Magic Strings Of Frankie Presto” I just finished it for my book club and it was amazing!

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  2. What a frustrating situation. I’m glad you stuck around for the young performer. Sometimes saying something adds flame to a situation. But we always wonder if our voice might have made a difference and changed the situation. Hard to know.

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  3. I have regretted NOT speaking up many times. I think you captured it perfectly–you are so stunned that it is happening that your brain goes on “freeze” mode. Those things seem to play over and over in your head and every time you wish you would have jumped in. And you are also right that the older guy should know better.

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  4. You were in a tough situation and no doubt, did the best you could. So sad when adults loose control of themselves. Everyone is put in a bad situation. Your slice was thought-provoking. Thanks for sharing, Vanessa.

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  5. Wow, anger is a very difficult thing to face. I am not sure if saying much at that point would have been a good idea. I am glad you were able to speak to the young man. Good idea posting about it, it helps to voice things in some way.

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  6. I watched a father say the most unkind, hurtful words to his young son in the park the other day. I didn’t say anything, none of the bystanders did. I wish I would have now. I experienced many of the feelings you described so well in this post. Thanks for sharing a vulnerable moment.

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  7. It is so hard to be in that situation – I know I have been in. You second guess yourself, wondering if you should or shouldn’t step in. With such anger sometimes it is safer, but these people need to know that they are wrong. By seeing to the young man he knows now he has support. Sometimes that is all we can do at the time.

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