It is lunch time. All the notes, symbols, and dynamics are sitting in their assigned staves, when an argument breaks out between Sharp and Flat.
“No, he was my friend first! I’ve known him since second grade!”
“Yeah, but he likes me better! And I’ve been his partner in music class since middle school. You never had any classes with him!”
“Yeah, but your music was terrible! It was always so…”
“Oh look, Sharp and Flat are arguing again. It feels like they’re going at it about who is better friends with Middle C almost every day now,” Half Note said complacently. Quarter Note and Eighth Note nodded in agreement. They agree with whatever Half Note says, most of the time.
Just then, as Flat was winding up to throw a punch, Forte suddenly yelled, “Look! There he is! There’s Middle C!” Everyone’s heads turned to where Forte was pointing.
And there he was – Middle C, flanked by B and D, and all the other notes from A to G. He walked into the middle of the room and cowered over Sharp and Flat. “Enough fighting! You are both my friends. But if such fighting continues, neither of you will be my friend.” He then stomped out, his posse following him.
“Well, they won’t be disagreeing ever again,” Quarter Note assumed.
“Yay! Now we will finally be able to eat lunch in peace!” Eighth Note said swiftly.
So, let me rewind a bit. This is Crescendo High School. All the characters in our story are high school juniors. The popular kid, if you haven’t gathered from the scene in the cafeteria, is Middle C. His friends are the notes A through G, who make up the group the Piano Keys. Sharp and Flat are his friends too, unless they quarrel again. The popular girls are Half Note, Quarter Note, and Eighth Note. Half Note being the leader of the pack, Quarter Note assuming things all the time, and Eighth Note being a quick speaker, so to speak. Forte is the jock with the loud, booming voice that almost no one can disregard. You haven’t met all our characters yet, but I will introduce them to you as the story unfolds.
The next day, Sharp and Flat were sitting on opposite sides of the cafeteria, but they kept glaring at each other, making angry faces. It was almost like they were about to lunge at each other. Chatter had spread among the other students about how the feud started, and who would win the fight, if there was to be one. Groups of people had started to side with Sharp, and others with Flat. Half Note made the decision for her group that it would be best to side with Sharp because he was, “Obviously cuter than Flat.” As always, Quarter Note and Eighth Note followed her lead.
Later that afternoon during music class, Eighth Note and Quarter Note looked across the room and saw Half Note flirting with Sharp. These are the times when Eighth Note and Quarter Note get the rare chance to talk about what they want to talk about, including where they would be if they hadn’t become friends with Half Note.
“It’s like she’s controlling our lives!” exclaimed Quarter Note. “If I ever got to choose things for myself, I would be siding with Flat, or I would just not side with anyone at all! It’s so stupid how everyone is going against each other.”
“I agree. I just wish we could do what we want for a change. It’s almost like she thinks we’re her puppets and we don’t have feelings,” agreed Eighth Note.
“Wait, that’s just it! We have to show her that we are real, living notes that she can’t boss around,” exclaimed Quarter Note.
Now, let’s fast forward to the next day, when Half Note walks into the cafeteria, only to see that Quarter Note and Eighth Note are sitting talking to Flat! She approaches them and asks, “Ummmmm, what are you guys doing?”
They reply, “We’re sitting with our friend, Flat.”
Half Note declares, “Guys, I told you that we are on Sharp’s side.”
“You’re on Sharp’s side, but we are on Flat’s side,” answered Eighth Note.
“Uh, are you disagreeing with me? You always agree with what I say, that’s how our friendship works!” Half Note cried in disbelief.
Quarter Note snapped back, “That’s how it works when we don’t get a say in anything and you treat us like we’re your puppets! Sometimes, Half Note, I think that you forget that we are notes too, and that we have feelings! When I became friends with you, I thought you were such a nice note, but now I see what a manipulative note you really are! Which is why Eighth Note and I are no longer your minions, so you can go now and sit next to your boyfriend, Sharp.”
Half Note just stood there for a second, dumbfounded; then she stormed away and sat down at the table with Sharp supporters. Quarter Note and Eighth Note high-fived.
Now, let’s talk about Middle C’s posse. Even though Middle C told them that he was friends with both Sharp and Flat, the rest of the notes started taking sides. Some of them even stopped sitting with Middle C at lunch and sitting with either Sharp or Flat.
Middle C was starting to become fed up with this. One day, before they all went to different tables at lunch, he told them what was on his mind. “Guys, I like them both! They’re both my friends! And now they’ve stopped arguing, so I don’t see any reason to side with either of them on their views about me. Even though you all think you’re still friends and all seven of us will always be friends, just by picking sides you are dividing the group! And even worse, some of you are just choosing to side with either Sharp or Flat to be with your closest friends, which is admitting to the rest of us that we are not all equal in your minds. So, if you want to keep the Piano Keys together, you better find a way to buck up, and not be so neglectful towards some of your pals.” The other members of the group just stood there for a second, contemplated what was just said, but then broke off to their separate tables anyway. Middle C sighed a frustrated sigh, and sat down at the Piano Keys’ table, now all alone.
Now I am going to introduce you to two new characters: Fermata and Staccato. Fermata was the pretty girl, with the nice makeup and the perfect hair. Staccato was a jock, like Forte, but a little more reserved. He was the quarterback of the football team, and all the girls swooned over him, just like his girlfriend, Fermata, did sometimes. He and Fermata got along very well. Today they were making plans to see a movie on Friday, except Fermata wanted to see “Hitting the Right Notes,” and Staccato wanted to see “Music in the Modern Age.”
Staccato, in his usual halting speech, argued, “Fer ma ta, you got to pick the mo vie last week. I think I should get to pick this week, and ‘Hit ting the Right Notes’ sounds like an o ther sing ing mo vie. You know I am sick of wat ching those peo ple sing o ver and o ver. And ‘Mu sic in the Mo dern Age’ sounds ve ry his tor i cal, and you know how much I like his tor y.”
“Yeeeeeees, buut dooooesn’t the giiiirl aaaalwayyys geeeet to choooose the movieee? It’s oooonly riiiight toooo let the ladyyyyy piiickk,” Fermata answered in her smooth tone.
And they started quarreling right there in the cafeteria. Soon Forte barged into the room and started yelling about a game the football team had lost. Then, a fight between Sharp and Flat began. Everyone was surrounding them, except Staccato and Fermata, who were still arguing at their table, Forte, who was running around the cafeteria and yelling at anyone who would listen, and Middle C, who was sitting at his own table, head in hands, unable to bear the sight of his friends fighting over him. The cafeteria had erupted into a cacophony. And then the voice of reason appeared-
Pause! Enter Whole Note, a senior. She is a very well rounded, down to earth person that could fix any problem that was put in front of her.
“HEEEYYYY! STOP IT! EVERYBODY STOP.” She waited to speak again until she had everyone’s attention. No one messes with Whole Note; even Middle C knows that. “Well, when I was a junior, nothing this horrific ever occurred in the cafeteria. What happened here?! You guys need to stop fighting, and instead learn to work together! Better yet, be friends again! I leave you with that thought, and NO MORE FIGHTING!” And with that, the fighting ceased, and everyone ate in silence for the rest of the period.
In music class, everyone still stayed silent, too shocked from the lunchtime events. The teacher, Mrs. Legato, who had just happened to overhear the cafeteria commotion, asked them to take out their instruments and play them all at once. It sounded like an awful mish mosh. Then she asked them each to play a bit on their own, and each person sounded uniquely beautiful. Suddenly, Middle C had a realization. He was the first person to speak after the incident in the cafeteria.
“Guys, I don’t know why I‘ve never realized this before. Everybody’s music sounds good individually, so think about what it would sound like if we all played together in harmony. It would sound spectacular! And if we all made a band together, it would be a great way to restore our friendships. We could use music to fix all our problems!” And at this, everyone started to clap, and Mrs. Legato smiled a smile they had never seen before: a smile of true pride. “Let’s get this band going after school today!” Middle C exclaimed, and everyone agreed.
At band practice that afternoon, they produced beautiful harmonies.
The next day, there was a different aura in the cafeteria. Sharp and Flat were sitting together, talking peacefully. Half Note was sitting by herself, when Quarter Note and Eighth Note asked if they could join her. Middle C and his posse were all sitting together, speaking in high and low pitches, all of them getting along. Fermata and Staccato were at their own table, holding hands. Whole Note was watching the scene from the door; she was so pleased. Everything seemed so picture-perfect, a scene that Crescendo High had never seen before.
Now, we see an unfamiliar kid enter the cafeteria. Quarter Note noticed him, and turning to Eighth Note, whispered, “Look at that kid. I’ve never seen him around here before. Maybe he’s new.”
“Yeah, maybe we should go talk to him,” uttered Eighth Note hurriedly.
But by the time Quarter Note and Eighth Note started up out of their seats, Mrs. Treble, the lunch aide, told them to sit back down. After that, they started scanning the room for the new kid, but they couldn’t find him, and they thought nothing of it.
After school that day, all the members of the band met in the music room again. Quarter Note wondered aloud to Eighth Note, “Maybe the new kid would like to join the band.”
Eighth Note nodded, “When we see him at lunch tomorrow, we’ll ask him.”
And so the next day at lunch, Quarter Note and Eighth Note, excited that they might have a new band member, looked around for him. But by the end of the period, they hadn’t seen him at all. And so they agreed, “We’ll ask him tomorrow.”
So, they looked the next day, and the day after that, and the day after that, but they never saw him. Yet, they couldn’t stop thinking about the peculiar, new kid that was there for a day.
A week later, they were all in the music room at band practice, like always after school. They were having a great time making music when there was a knock on the door. Eighth Note looks at Quarter Note from across the room, and they both recognize him at the same time. It was the peculiar new kid!
He introduces himself. “Hi, my name is Repeat Sign, and I’m a new student here. Can I join your band? I love music!”
And they all embrace him as a new member immediately.
Since Repeat Sign joined the band, there was no chance of another cacophony. He was there to repeat the peace and harmony that all the kids created with their music.