The Song Sparrows are tuning up their arias now that spring is here. It’s fun to listen to them rehearse. We have three especially notable soloists at the Fill this year. One practices on the edge of Boy Scout Pond. He pops up whenever I walk by, and gives me a sample of his progress. I always compliment him on his performance, but really, he is pedestrian compared to the virtuoso over at Kern’s Restoration Pond. This guy is good. He starts out with three introductory notes, followed by a series of sharp staccatos, ending with a trill of the sweetest music you will ever hear. I’ve heard him three times now. Whenever he appears on stage (a rose bush branch near the edge of the Loop Trail), he gives it his all, throwing back his head and opening his throat to pour forth his music. When he hits the staccato part, his whole head ratchets rapidly up and down, like a yodeler trying to reach across to the next mountain range.
After listening to his concert one morning this week, I hoped for an encore, but he was done for the day. Disconsolate, I wandered back to Wahkiakum Lane, still trying to hum a snatch of song (as Verde opera attendees were said to do back in the 1800s), only to encounter my third soloist of the day. I arrived in the balcony just in time to see him come onto stage. He fluffed up his feathers, shuffled his feet a little to gain a better stance, threw back his head, and let fly. Whhroowwkk! He sounded exactly like a Whoopie cushion. “That can’t be right,” I said to myself, and shook my head back and forth to get rid of any cottonwool that might have lodged in my ears. The maestro took another breath and, “Whhoooophpht!”
How he expects to get a girl when he’s competing right next door to Plácido Domingo beats me.