Had an interesting conversation tonight with a Graham dancer. We were talking about how performers need to be aware of the audience. We'd both been taught that the beginnings and endings of pieces are especially crucial because people are more likely to notice if something isn't smooth.
This reminded me of an unrelated story about people noticing endings from a gig I played years ago at a wedding in Brooklyn. The trumpet player decided to play the "Theme from Love Story" while the guests were eating dinner that night; an odd choice given the makeup of the crowd. To really up the showmanship, he stepped out onto the empty dance floor, climbed the photographer's ladder, and proceeded to play the song from atop the ladder. It wasn't even a particularly good rendition of the tune, but what makes this moment particularly memorable is how -- with all eyes on him -- he ended the tune and proceeded to empty his spit-valve from the top of the ladder directly onto the dance floor. The look on the guest's (and band's) faces was priceless.