Marian_Orchestra Letter E_Rev7x8_170

It’s spring concert time and I’m making my fingers fly fast over the strings of my violin pizzicato style, trying to keep up with the syncopated rhythms of The Typewriter Song.

Noah Klauss, the director of our Elizabethtown High School Orchestra, is a fan of Leroy Anderson pieces. Last year we played The Syncopated Clock, the sound of a swinging pendulum tick-tocking in our heads as we played the melody.

I am learning the music all right, but in the back of my mind I worry, “What am I going to wear to the concert?” The outfits I have are mostly home-made. A collar or buttons is the most exciting accessory on my blouses or dresses – no lace or plunging necklines for this Mennonite girl, the only plain girl in the orchestra. Obviously, unlike my friends, I don’t have a fancy gown hanging in my closet.

To the rescue: Aunt Ruthie, who out of the blue, gives me a call. Down over the hill I go to our second home, where she and Grandma Longenecker live. As I walk toward the dining room table, Ruthie pulls out part of a bolt of shimmery fabric flocked with swirling designs. I blink at the elegance. Woah!

Flocked fabric similar to actual material

Flocked fabric similar to actual material

She’s already cut out the pattern and I’m to help her stitch the pieces together. Call me Cinderella! I’m going to the ball with a tea-length gown, a fluffy confection beyond my wildest dreams. Even the pin-pricks at my fitting can’t puncture the feelings of fantasy enveloping me now. Thank God, I won’t stick out like a plain Jane after all.

Take away the buttons and lengthen the skirt, and you have my Spring Concert dress.

Snip off the buttons and lengthen the skirt – Voila! my Spring Concert dress.

Do my class-mates in the orchestra comment about my transformation? I don’t remember what anyone else said, if anything. But I do remember the crinkly sound of my gathered skirt as I sit down, violin in lap. And the brand new, starchy-sweet scent of my luscious frock as I pull the bow over the strings.

I'm the plain girl between two fluffy skirts on the left.

I’m the girl with glasses between two fluffy skirts on the left.

Is there an outfit that recalls special memories for you?


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