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May 19, 2012

Noah's Arkestra

An Orchestral Children's Story

Summary: A conductor tells the children of the audience a story about Noah’s Ark and the instruments keep interrupting with sound effects - to the apparent frustration of the conductor, who eventually plays along with it.

“How many of you have heard the story of Noah?

[pause for a show of hands, then act surprised and disappointed as everyone already knows the story you were about to tell]

“Oh . . . all of you.

[mutters as if disappointed that this isn't a new story for the kids] “Great” 

“Well, it’s my favorite story so you’re going to hear it again.
A long time ago, God spoke to a man named Noah. He told him he needed to build a huge boat to save some of the people and animals from a big flood that was coming.
So Noah and his sons started to chop down some trees.” [makes chopping motions with arm]


Conductor: [looks around to the drummer with a confused glare - as if to communicate ‘what was that all about’]

“And they cut up the logs and hammered them in place”

Conductor: [Makes four large hammering gestures, in a conducting like manner, to which the
Drummer hits his Snare Drum each time, but the rhythm slows to a stop by the fourth as if the conductor is not amused with the drummer - and turns around slowly and gives an angry glare this time towards the drummer]

“And it took more than 100 years to finish this giant boat. Soon after it was finished, the animals started to come.”

“There were elephants”
[jumps at the sound of the trombones blast]
Trombones: Sliding elephant trumpeting sound
Drummer/Timpani: Toms, heavy walking 8 beats

Conductor: [spins around with a look of rage - but come to realise the kids are loving it and you will now start to play it up from now on. With a sly smile, continues].

“In fact, they were probably baby elephants”.

[All at once]
Trombones: quieter trumpeting this time
Drummer: quieter toms - 8 beats
Trumpets: play ‘baby elephant walk’ ditti

“And there were tiny little sparrows.”
Flutes: Trill

“And a mummy goose.”
Soprano/alto sax: high squeak
“And a daddy goose.”
Baritone/tenor sax: deep honk

“And two little mice”
Keyboard: first line ‘hickery dickery dock’ then chromatic up the keyboard

“Some horses . . .”
Trumpets: give “Horse race trumpet call ditti”
Drummer: snare horse running “da da dum, da da dum”

“. . . came walking SLOWLY!”
Guitar: Slow walk  dum de da de, dum de da de
Trumpet: Whinnie

“Snakes slithered up”
Clarinet/oboe: Middle east snake charming ditti
Drummer: Cymbal brushing hiss

“And even bees . . .”
2 Violins: steady low notes for a few beats.

“. . . and mosquitos”
2 Violins: steady clashing high note for an annoying length of time

“And soon they were all in the ark, and an Angel came and shut the giant door.”
Drummer: Drum roll then Tom and Base drum thud

“And they waited and they waited and everyone grew quiet restless”
Whole orchestra: random ‘animal’ noise playing until conductor cuts you off]

“ but, after a week, something happened. It started to rain”
Violins: quiet slow plucking

“and it got heavier"
Violins: faster plucking

 “and and heavier
Drummer: start snare quietly and build to roll.

“and there was thunder . . .”
Drummer: Loud tom fill, continuing with the snare ‘rain’ though till the rain stops

“. . . and lightning”
Orchestra member: stands up and turns a torch on and off at the audience a couple of times.

[Conductor wonders why an orchestra member has a torch with them]

“And the water level rose higher and higher and the ark began to rock, UP

Whole Orchestra: starts a chromatic scale up

“  . . .and down. “
Whole Orchestra: changes from where they are to a chromatic scale down.

“UP. . .”

Whole Orchestra: chromatic scale up

“  . . .and down.” 
Whole Orchestra: chromatic scale down.

“and after 40 days of rains . . . it stopped”
[gives a slow extension of his arm, building the tension, then abruptly cutting off the drummer]
Drummer: stop on Conductor’s signal

And they waited and waited for the water to go down, and Noah let out some birds
Flute: trill

“and when there was enough dry land the door of the ark was opened”

Drummer: snare then toms/bass thud

[moving at a faster tempo now, as if the animals were all leaving quickly]

“out came the Elephants
Trombones: trumpeting
Drummer: toms - 8 beats
Trumpets: play ‘baby elephant walk’ ditti

Conductor: “And the tiny little sparrows”
Flutes: Trill

“And mummy goose”
Soprano/alto sax: high squeak
“And daddy goose”
Baritone/tenor sax: deep honk

“And a few hundred mice”
Keyboard: chromatic DOWN the keyboard

“The horses . . .”
Trumpets: give “Horse race trumpet call ditti”
Drummer: snare horse running “da da dum, da da dum”

Clarinet/oboe: Snake charming ditti
Drummer: Cymbal brushing hiss

“The bees . . .”
2 Violins: steady low notes for a few beats.

“. . . and mosquitos”
2 Violins: steady clashing high note until conductor slaps his cheek
[Conductor slaps cheek]

“And noah and his family built an altar and praised God for keeping them safe.”

“And God sent a beautiful rainbow . . .”

Harp/keyboard: slow ascending ‘brrrrrrring’ sound

“to remind us that he’ll never flood this earth again.”

Whole orchestra: Straight in with “Jesus Loves me” chorus to wrap things up. 


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