During my high school years, the school district would hold solo competitions. You selected a piece of music and practiced until you were blue in the face. Then came the fateful day when you went to a local school on Saturday to be judged by someone who sat behind a curtain in your designated classroom.
You were told you could just walk in and begin to play. Behind the curtain was a music teacher or band director who knew how to play your particular instrument. While you played, they would make notes on a clipboard and give you a final grade, to be posted later. If you played well, you wound up with a medal and band geek bragging rights.
Jeff Bianci played french horn. And he had a sense of humor. When he was done judging his own group, he found a bit of free time, a bucket, water and a towel. He then walked in to the french horn room as if he was a student, ready to play. A nervous student, that is.
He sat down, fumbling with the chair. Remember, the judge could only hear him and assumed he was a student ready to play his or her solo. Mr. Bianchi made a few noises, whimpered and blew a note or two that he purposely flubbed. Then he made a few more nervous noises.
From behind the curtain, he heard a calming voice. “It’s OK. Take your time. Relax and try again.”
And so he did. Whimper… tremble… chair scrape… a few blown notes.
“Try again” came from behind the curtain.
Chair scrape. Whimper. Tremble… and then Mr. Bianchi made a few hurling noises, wretched and threw the water-logged towel to the floor. SPLAT!
He said the judge, his FRIEND, flew around the screen with a look of sheer panic on his face. I believe Mr. Bianchi laughed so hard he nearly hurled. Best practical joke EVER.