"We'll be doing some Magic Moments from Act I and Overture," says Metro Gnome, Esq. He raises his pant leg in order to show off a pair of green and red Christmas socks, and laughs at his own wit.
Year after year, the pit band blasts through the Overture two times, being given the exact directives by Metro Gnome. The band, a bit older and suffering from senior moments, is encouraged to play louder, even louder. Metro Gnome shouts,"I cawn't hear you, violins, play more. Never mind the pianissimo in your parts. This is your moment! More staccato, please."
I move the music stand a bit to the left to block the relentless foot tapping, and confide a few things to my stand partner. Big mistake, by the way. Be careful what you tell a stand partner. Metro Gnome beats time with hand, foot and mouth. Confused in my old age, the multiple time indicators add to my frayed nerves. There is no such thing as delicacy in our rendition of the beloved holiday production. The Overture, marked in 2/4 time (that means feel in 2), stretches into 4/4. Nuances—what are those?
The important thing is Metro Gnome can boast he's conducted the production hundreds of times while thinking about everything from carnal pleasures to gastronomic indulgences, rather than the music itself.