Brandon clamped his large fingers around the thick neck of his six-foot upright bass. He glanced over his shoulder at the clock on the back wall of the concert hall. Would this rehearsal never end? Still twenty minutes until break. He sighed.
The conductor, a man in his mid-thirties dressed in a crisp button-down shirt, waved his arms in perfect precision in front of the violin section. As always, the violinists sped through exciting melodies while Brandon plunked out repetitive bass lines. That’s what happens when you choose bass in junior high orchestra.
At that time in his life, he’d wanted a hobby to keep him away from home as long as possible. His twelve-year-old self never would have dreamed he’d end up a music major at Belton University. A relaxed, go-with-the-flow guy, he’d never fully identified with the “ork dorks” in other sections of the orchestra. Yet seven years later, here he sat, perched on a stool on a fancy stage, a sophomore in college.
Brandon’s glance fell to the score in front of him. Several measures of rests spanned the page. He set his bow on the music stand and ran one hand through his shaggy brown hair. The third movement of Dvorak’s Eighth Symphony filled his ears. The nineteenth-century composer possessed a knack for beautiful melodic lines. If only he’d shared more of them with the lower strings.
After the movement wound to a close, the conductor wiped his forehead and gestured to the brass section. Brandon jerked to attention as trumpet blasts pierced the air. No chance to doze during this fourth movement. He squinted at the notes on the page. Dvorak had finally given the melody to the low strings. Time to focus.
His instrument sang as he slid his bow over the strings. When the music’s intensity rose, Brandon increased the pressure on the bow. How exhilarating! He pulled his last stroke through with a flourish.
He slumped lower on the stool. A new sound jolted him back to attention—this time not trumpet blasts, but the sweet song of a flute. His gaze moved to the woodwinds. A thrill of excitement rippled down his spine. A slender girl with wavy brunette hair held a flute to her rosy lips. Chestnut eyes gleamed behind small glasses perched on her perky nose.
Brandon swallowed. As stunning as the music she played, the flutist’s solo soared over the orchestra like a bird above the Midwestern plains. How had he never noticed her before? And how could he attract her attention?
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