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Dr. Isaac Steingart had given up on Neil. It was not about his wonderful musical abilities that he constantly lauded, but for his best student’s unwillingness to participate in the recitals he annually held for his students. Without a doubt, all students fear that dark theater set up and the audience, even if it is made up mostly of parents and friends. When they walk onto the platform and look out, they see reflective eye glasses, rigid faces, and hear muttering that rapidly recedes, then the silence as they adjust the seat and prepare to play. To them it’s a hostile, poised, alien army that they see. Neil always gave a terrified “No” when he was invited to play at the recital. His mother was asked to aid in changing his mind, but she was made of the same material, and not surprising that the requested assistance was not forthcoming.At the end of his lesson, his teacher plead, “You must experience being in front of an audience even if you choose to play privately for the rest of your life young man. Most of us, sooner or later, are required to face a group whether it’s small or large. Certainly you have had to read one of your papers or compositions in front of the class?“Not as yet sir,” He answered.“You must learn to confront an audience. You play beautifully; therein you have the ability to make people escape their worries or problems for a few moments. That’s the power of music. We transport our listeners. Wouldn’t you enjoy having that ability?”He shook his head in agreement, as he slipped into his jacket and headed for the door.“See you next week Neil.” Dr. Steingart reached and put his arm about his shoulder, it was clear his words had no effect on him. “You know you’re the one student that I never have to ask…

…ers’ said a thing. He figured it would happen when he least expected it. He didn’t have History on Monday, but on Tuesday. That might prove to be the day their assault would materialize. He told Gabe by phone, what he’d been up to and about his encounter with the ‘Tee-Shirters.’“To hell with them, what are they going to do, rat on you for being a musician?”“I’ve got those tag along puppies figured out, but Levi, the ringleader has me puzzled,” Neil admitted. “Ya should ‘a seen it. He just signaled them, and they obeyed.”Gabe told him he’d been out running with Penny, “but she spent all the running time asking about you.”“She’s not my type,” he explained, thinking he’s already said that to him several times. “She’s nice, and frankly I don’t think we’ll ever see the last of her.”“You mean she’ll be coming to our funerals?”“Ha, Ha, I wouldn’t doubt it.”

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