Des Orderly, email

A SYMPHONY orchestra was playing a concert in the park. They were in the middle of Beethovenís Ninth Symphony. The basses, in the back of the orchestra, decided they had a few minutes to spare before being asked to play anything, so they ran across the street to the pub for some ale. It was a windy day, so they found some string to wrap around their music stands to secure their scores while they were gone. At the tavern, they could hear the music and keep up with the progress of the piece.

So after a few rounds, they decided that they had to hurry back as the last movement of the Ninth Symphony was underway. They stumbled back onto the bandstand and were fumbling with the string around their sheet music, trying to get it loose, but not having much success.

The conductor saw what was happening and instantly sized up the situation: It was the bottom of the ninth, the score was tied and the basses were loaded.