Friday, 31 July 2009

The power of story

My son's band was auditioning for the right to play the main stage at a local festival. American Idol-style, these second-round auditions were open to the public. My son's band was playing the last set of the evening.

There was just one problem. One of their guitarists had already committed to playing a nursing home (yes, you read that right) earlier that evening. But they figured he'd be able to turn up on time. It would be tight, but he'd make it. When set-up time came, he still wasn't there. They set up as slowly as they possibly could, and the MC was as helpful as he could be, hamming it up and even singing a song of his own to keep the audience engaged. Still no guitarist, and there was just no way to delay any longer. So they picked a song in which his contribution wasn't too central, improvised a bit to fill in the holes, and performed the song.

Still no guitarist. This is only a four-man band, so it matters.

They looked at each other, picked another song, and started in. What else could they do? And then, partway in, the missing guitarist came sprinting up the aisle, bounded onto the stage, plugged in his guitar... just in time for his solo. It could not have been better timed if they had deliberately staged it.

And they won the competition. One of the organizers told them afterwards that they were serious contenders from the outset, but once their performance turned into a story, and one with a happy ending at that, they were a shoo-in. This despite the fact they were not a local band, and the audience vote counted for 50% of the final outcome.

And that, my friends, illustrates the power of story about as well as anything could.

6 comments:

rosemerry said...

Wow, that is a good story. The timing was superb. If I thought it was fiction I would definitely be thinking "oh how convenient."

Janet said...

No kidding. I didn't intend this to be a post on the dangers of using coincidence in fiction, but you're right. I quit reading one author altogether, largely because of one very clich├ęd coincidence. Guy goes past his lady love's window just in time to see shadows on the blind which he completely buy understandably misinterprets? Give me a break. Yet weirder things happen in real life all the time. And their only justification is the fact they really happened. Fiction can't use that justification.

Melanie Avila said...

I didn't think things like that happened in real life. Very cool!

Congrats to them for being chosen.

Janet said...

Melanie, apparently they do. ;o)

I see you have succumbed to the Twitter sickness too. LOL

Johanna said...

Every so often I like happy endings! Glad this was a real life one!

Janet said...

Sounds like a teen movie, doesn't it? :o) Yeah, they're pretty happy about it. They've been written up in the papers, will be performing on a morning show, and then playing immediately before the big-name performers at the festival.

I read recently a post by a lawyer/professor who would advise his students that to win cases, they had to turn it into a story, and a better story than the other side's.

 

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