Piano Forte

Chapter 37-Master Musicians

<Gary and Ned>
As Austin and William began their performance, Gary scooted close to Ned in the waiting room. “I have an idea,” he said, and he quickly told Ned what he was thinking.
“I like it,” Ned said when Gary finished. “And this is how we can make it work.” He quickly told Gary what he was thinking.
“I think it’s going to work.”
“We’re going to make mistakes,” Ned told Gary.
“It’s going to rock, so who cares?” Gray grinned.
Then they listened to the mesmerizing performance happening on stage. When the music stopped, they walked into the backstage area.
“You guys were amazing,” Gary said, obviously awestruck as Austin and William left the stage to loud applause. “The audience loves you.” He touched William on his right shoulder and Austin on his left shoulder. “I love you both.”
He stepped away and Ned took his place. Ned planted a kiss on William’s right cheek and then one on Austin’s left. “I love you, too.”
“I hope we can do half as good,” Gary said to Ned as Austin and William returned to the stage to take another bow.
“We’ll be just as good,” Ned responded, although he wasn’t sure he believed that. Austin and William’s rendition of Boccherini’s “Fandango” had been, without question, the best performance of the camp.
“I hope our plan works,” Gary told Ned.
“It will. I know how that music works.” Because Ned had transcribed the entire “Entertainer” for flute, he knew the music intimately.
When he returned backstage, Austin gave Ned a kiss on the lips. “We’re the Master Quartet,” he said over the continuing noise of the audience. He then kissed Gary. “The Master Quartet means we’re Master Musicians,” Austin told Gary after breaking the kiss. “And you guys don’t forget that.”
Mr. Shepard could see that the audience needed calming down and stepped out on the stage holding his arms up for quiet. The clamor died down as some voices continued calling for an encore.
“Sorry, but no encores,” Mr. Shepard called out.
“I love you, Austin!” a female voice screamed, which created whistles and shrieks.
Mr. Shepard raised his arms again. “Let’s welcome Gary and Ned onto the stage. Each of them will play a different version of Scott Joplin’s “The Entertainer.”
Amidst another swell of yells and whistles, Gary and Ned appeared on stage. Gary sat at the piano and Ned sat in the seat that William had occupied. The campers finally calmed down and gave the pair on stage their full attention.
The plan was for Gary to play Scott Joplin’s famous ragtime piece, “The Entertainer” followed up by Ned playing the transcription he had written for flute. Gary felt it was important to explain to his fellow campers what was going to be happening.
“I’m going to play ‘The Entertainer’ by Scott Joplin on the piano, the way Joplin wrote it. Ned, who is awesome at composing and transcribing is going to play his own transcription on the flute after I finish. I hope you like it.”
The audience whooped and applauded. When Gary sat down, they waited quietly for him to begin. 
Gary played the familiar, fast-paced work flawlessly and with flair. Heads were bobbing in time with the ragtime piece. As soon as the applause died down, Ned started in on his flute. Jordan turned on the mic that he had used for William. Ned’s notes floated beautifully through the auditorium, his flute rendition as lively and flawless as Gary’s original piano rendition had been.
While the roar wasn’t as loud as what Austin and William enjoyed, there was no doubt the audience loved being entertained by Ned and Gary. “Encore!” someone yelled.
Gary looked at Ned and sat down at the piano. Knowing nobody was going to come out to drag them off stage, he played the first few bars of “The Entertainer”.  The auditorium immediately hushed.  Gary looked at Ned for a moment and Ned took over the music in exactly the right place.
The boys moved back and forth between the piano and the flute and a couple of times played together. Their performance was akin to a jazz jam session—the two knew what they were doing while at the same time they weren’t all that sure how it would fit together but continued with confidence. They were playing together when they brought their encore to a close. They had played only a portion of the score together, but the electricity of the performance had the audience once again on its feet.
“I can’t believe they did that,” Austin said backstage. “I wonder how much they practiced playing together.”
“That really kicked ass,” Titus grinned.
“So much for ‘no encores’,” William said.
“Who cares?” Austin said. “They were amazing.”
Everyone in the waiting area went to the backstage area to congratulate Gary and Ned on their performance. “I must say that was quite a surprise,” Dr. Boardman said as he greeted the boys coming off the stage.
“Are we in trouble?” Ned asked.
“You two were so good that if I punished you for violating the no encore edict I would be tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail.”
“Whatever that means,” Titus said.
“Trust me, it’s something you don’t want to have happening to yourselves,” the teacher replied. “The encore will be noted as one of the special moments of this year’s camp.” And as seems to be the case with every year’s camp, the rules are changed as needed, he chuckled to himself.
The Master Quartet plus William sat through three more performances which were good but nothing that excited the audience. After the second half recitals were finished, Mr. Shepard went on stage. He asked for everyone’s attention so he could make an announcement. The audience knew that the announcement would be about choosing the top performers.
“It’s time for us to choose the three performances worthy of playing tomorrow. As you all know, with camp coming to an end this weekend, the finalists will be playing Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, so we need to pick this week’s finalists tomorrow. The director waited a moment as some of the more enthusiastic campers called out their favorite performances.
Ten minutes later Dr. Boardman came onto the stage. “I doubt anybody will be surprised by the picks. The performances were at such a high level that we exercised our option to choose three performances. All of them feature players from a group of musicians who have been billing themselves the Master Quartet. They see themselves as young master musicians, hence the name.”
Of course, Dr. Boardman had no clue that the origin of the name was derived from the boys’ enjoyment of masturbation. The boys would agree, however, that the name had grown to have a much broader meaning. Since almost all the campers in the audience knew who comprised the Master Quartet, they had no doubt who would be playing the next day.
“Titus Hayden and our own Ms Z will play tomorrow”, Dr. Boardman announced. After a pause for cheers, he continued. “Austin Richards and William Delacroix”, he read, which brought on louder cheers, and, in a departure from the usual protocol, he read, “Ned Walsh and Gary Wright”, which resulted in pandemonium! The inclusion of Ned was unexpected, and the audience loved it. Quiet, but extremely talented Ned had become a popular boy that night.
With the program officially over, the performers came out to talk to parents, teachers, friends, fellow campers, and anyone else interesting in talking to them. Dr. Byers of the Seattle Youth Symphony and Tacoma’s Dr. Markham stood close to Gene and David Delacroix as the Master Quartet Plus One received praise from the two maestros.
William felt a surge of warmth when David, his father, said, “You know I don’t like to think of you as a guitarist, mainly because you’re a pianist. But I have to give you credit, you were brilliant tonight. You and Austin meshed well—you wouldn’t be the first concert performer to excel on a second instrument. From William’s father, that was high praise indeed.
“I know Mozart played the violin and the piano really well,” Austin pointed out.
“Not to mention another few instruments,” Dr. Markham chuckled.
“Gary, you were magnificent,” Gene told his new pupil. He turned to Ned and said, “You not only played the flute superbly, but your transcription was marvelous.”
“How many times did you boys practice your ‘surprise’ duet?” Mr. Shepard, who had wandered into the group, asked.
“None,” Gary replied.
“Nada,” Ned agreed.
“And you can add zero and zilch to that,” Gary grinned.
“You mean to say that you improvised that encore?” William asked incredulously.
“Pretty much. Ned and me talked about it real quick when Austin and William started playing. Ned figured where we should trade off and we did it pretty good—we had a couple of drops, but nothing bad.”
“How did you know when both of you were going to play together?” Gene asked.
“We didn’t,” Ned answered. “It just happened when I kept playing through the bar he was supposed to stop at, so we did it a couple more times.”
“It’s a good thing we both didn’t stop at the same time. That would have been embarrassing,” Gary added.
“You boys are something else,” Dr. Markham said. “Improvisations are not easy even when you’ve practiced for them. I am extra impressed by your master musicianship.”
“And, young Master Titus, that was a fine job on the violin,” Gene grinned. “You sounded very professional.” He noticed that Titus had faded from everyone’s attention and he had earned a compliment for his work as well.
“Thank you, Mr. Delacroix,” Titus said.
“Hey guys, it’s great to have all these adults tell us how awesome we are and give us big heads, but that’s not putting any snacks into our stomachs,” William pointed out.
“Then I guess we better head for the dining hall,” Austin said. He looked at Dr. Byers, Dr. Markham, Gene and David Delacroix, the high-powered adults in the group and asked if they were coming back tomorrow.
“Wouldn’t miss it,” Dr. Markham said. “Are you two going to play as a duo tomorrow or do your two solos?” he asked Gary and Ned.
“I dunno,” Gary answered. “We haven’t had a chance to talk about it.”
“I suggest giving it some thought. I’d love to hear what you sound like with even an hour or so of rehearsing.”
As the boys left together for the dining hall, Austin realized that Dr. Byers hadn’t said a word to any of them. He wondered how the man earned the reputation of being one of the best youth symphony directors in the country. John ran after the Quartet Plus One and walked with them to the dining hall.
“What do you guys have planned after you snack?” John asked.
“I think we should dump what we had planned and start planning it all from the start,” Gary said. “With the awesome night we’ve been having, I think we ought to end it with something unplanned.”
“Yeah, kind of like our encore,” Ned grinned.
<Music Masters>
As the boys walked up the stairs to the dining hall, Gene, David, Dr. Markham, Dr. Byers, and Dr. Boardman sat at a table in the staff lounge of the Administration Building ready to have coffee and pie and talk about the boys who called themselves the Master Quartet and their performance.
“How does William fit into the quartet?” David asked. “Having him included makes it five.”
“Tonight, they can all call themselves Master Musicians,” Gene responded.
“They certainly played that way,” Dr. Boardman grinned proudly. Through the years the Bainbridge Music Camp had seen many talented young musicians but few stirring nights like this one had been. “I am very proud of those boys.”
“John, I suggest you solicit parental permission to post those performances on YouTube. I think the response will be amazing and will greatly enhance the already fine reputation of this camp,” Dr. Markham suggested to Dr. Boardman.
“The parents gave us blanket permission to post public performances on YouTube, with the proviso that we present them the opportunity to view the video first, when they signed their child’s enrollment form,” John Boardman responded.
“Gentleman, please. Aren’t we getting a little carried away here?” Dr. Byers asked. “Other than William, these are preteen children having a miraculous moment. And even William, for all his experience and pedigree, is barely a teenager. I wouldn’t be averse to posting his video, however, to show how a talented young musician can successfully take on a secondary instrument.
“After all, William has all his orchestral performances posted in the site. Showing proficiency on another instrument would be a real feather in his cap as a budding prodigy, even if he is being accompanied by that dreadful redheaded preteen.” Dr. Byers ended his discourse with a satisfied look that said he was right and everyone should agree with his evaluation.
“Are you referring to my protégé, Fred?” Gene asked forcefully.
“Oh, I have no doubt he is a fine musician,” Byers said. “but he is not a prodigy. Even in an event as informal as the Seattle Festival, I wouldn’t ask him to perform with my orchestra. I would wait until he was much older and experienced before considering him to play with them.”
Eugene Delacroix had always considered Fred Byers to be a stuck-up prig, but he was definitely outdoing himself. “Of course, you’re assuming that Austin would even want to play for you,” Gene commented.
If Eugene expected Dr. Byers to be offended by his comment, he was disappointed. “It should go without saying that he wouldn’t want to play for me. He knows he wouldn’t be able to meet my standards.” Eugene was more certain than ever that Fred Byers was full of himself or something else.
Even David Delacroix had heard enough. “From what I’ve seen and heard, Austin may be the equal of my son, who you obviously think is good enough to play for you.”
“The difference is maturity. The Seattle Youth Symphony is one of the top youth orchestras and has room only for the best of the best to solo with us.”
“Ahh, so you’re talking about soloists,” Dr. Markham said. “What about Titus, the violinist, and Ned the flutist—do they stand a chance of playing IN your august orchestra?”
“You know how it works Don. After all, you’ve been directing your orchestra much longer than I’ve wielded the baton for mine.” Dr. Byers would be beginning his fourth season as director of the Seattle Youth Symphony while Dr. Markham would be commencing his twentieth season as Director of the Tacoma Youth Symphony. “Off the top of my head, I wouldn’t mind if either one showed up for an audition during the festival.”
“I will be sure to pass on the word to them,” Dr. Boardman said. Like the others at the table, he was growing weary of the Seattle Director’s line of bullshit. “My understanding is that Titus will be at the festival. Ned lives in Vancouver, Canada, and will not be able to attend.”
“That works out perfectly. I have discovered that it is much more difficult finding a good woodwind player than a string player. Tell Titus to check the schedule for auditions.”
“Titus is the violinist,” Don Markham said sharply. The least Fred could do was get the kids’ names straight, he thought. “But he does live in the Seattle area.”
“Well, either way, I enjoy listening to fresh blood. For obvious reasons there is a great deal of turnover in a youth orchestra and it helps to have musicians waiting in line to play.”
“This has all been quite enlightening,” Dr. Markham said with his tongue firmly planted in his cheek. “But I would like to make an announcement before our little gathering breaks up.”
“Do tell us what you have in mind,” Gene grinned. Dr. Markham had already revealed his announcement to the maestro.
“Tomorrow I plan on asking Austin Richards, aka ‘that awful redhead’, to perform with the Tacoma Youth Symphony at the festival and, if that works out, he will also be asked to solo with the orchestra at the Tacoma Pantages Theater next spring.”
Markham waited for a snide remark from Dr. Byers, but the Seattle director’s response was somewhat gracious. “Congratulations,” Dr. Byers said. “Your orchestra will be a good place for the…for him to start.” Byers almost said, “…for the little boy to start…” but he caught himself just in time. As sarcastic as he could often be, he occasionally realized when it was in his best interests to control his tongue.
The subject matter turned to the encore performed by Gary and Ned. Dr. Boardman pointed out that Ned had impressed his instructors with his compositional ability. As often happened, his ability to compose and transcribe also translated into being able to improvise on stage as had happened with him and Gary doing their improvisation of “The Entertainer” using Ned’s transcription as their basis.
After a few minutes, Dr. Byers excused himself. “I want to catch the next scheduled ferry. I will not be back tomorrow night—I’ve seen all I need to see. I do plan to return Friday to hear William’s piano work.” He gave the group a quick wave of his right hand. “It’s been a pleasure gentlemen.” He turned and left the lounge.
“I can’t say the feeling has been mutual,” Gene said after the Seattle director was gone. “I had no idea he could be so difficult to deal with.”
“He does have a sharp tongue, which he has few qualms about using,” Don Markham said. “We generally get along okay if I ignore his not so subtle barbs regarding Tacoma as a second-rate city struggling to find enough musicians for its youth symphony and deal with him as little as possible.”
“How often do you have to deal with him?” Dr. Boardman asked.
“Too often,” Don chuckled. “But like I said he is tolerable in small amounts. He does have his good points. He can be very charming, especially when dealing with donors and the media. Plus, he is an excellent instructor and has made an outstanding orchestra even better.”
“Playing for him must be tough on the kids at times,” David said.
“He is very demanding, but when working with the kids he is quick to give out praise—but, as you no doubt surmised, he can be quite sarcastic as well. He fares best with the young college students who seem less likely to take his barbs personally.” The youth orchestra consisted of musicians who were under 20 years of age when the fall season started.
“I’ll tell you the big difference between the SYO and the TYO, at least from my point of view,” Gene remarked. “Both orchestras are disciplined, finely tuned ensembles, but Don’s kids look like they enjoy playing more than Fred’s.”
“I do think that playing music should be fun, otherwise why bother,” Don explained.
“When do you plan on meeting with Austin?” Dr. Boardman asked.
“I was hoping for tonight, but he’s off with his friends now, doing whatever it is young adolescent musicians do in the evening at a music camp—other than playing music of course.”
Gene was getting to like Don Markham more and more. The man knew what it was like to be a kid, especially a boy, and Gene was certain that attitude carried over to the musicians in his orchestra.
“I plan on coming over on the ten am ferry tomorrow and want to meet with Austin on my arrival at the school,” Don continued. “Perhaps we can meet for lunch afterward.”
“How does Alfred’s sound?” Gene asked.
“I was hoping you’d suggest that fine eatery. Gene, I would love it if you joined me as well as you, John.” Gene Delacroix and John Boardman nodded their heads in approval.
“Before we break up and go our own ways, I want to put this into your ears. It would be nice if the four master musicians could be together for the music festival. Meaning we should discuss a plan at lunch tomorrow to see if we can find a way for Ned to come down from Canada for the festival,” Don said as he rose from his seat. “Chatting with all of you has truly been a pleasure. I will see you tomorrow.”
“Are you going to prep Austin for his meeting with Don, tomorrow?” John Boardman asked Gene after Markham left.
“Nope. This is Don’s show. I will be with Austin to hold his hand and hug him, whichever he needs more,” Gene replied.
<Master Quartet Plus One>
The Master Musicians were certain of what they wanted to do that night. The only issue for the Quarter members was what the Plus One planned on doing.
Ned told Gary he wanted to be fucked again. “And you’re the one I want doing it,” he grinned.
“Damn, Ned, you got all hooked on blow jobs. Now, it looks like it’s going to be the same for fucking.”
“I don’t think so. But we’re all going home on Sunday and I might never see you guys again and I want to do as much as I can before I go back to Canada and living with my bitch sister.”
“Did your sister say anything to you about how you did tonight?” Austin asked.
“Yeah, real quick like. She told me we were really good, which means we must have been totally awesome or she wouldn’t have said anything good to me.”
“I never even noticed her.”
“I did,” Titus said. “She told me that was the best violin recital of the camp.”
“Wow, that’s a compliment to me and one to my best friend. And since she plays the violin, too, her compliment to you is amazing. Something made her happy,” Ned commented.
“I bet my brother fucked her,” Gary remarked. “That’s what probably made her happy.”
“I just can’t imagine anybody wanting to fuck my sister, but your brother sure does have the hots for her,” Ned said.
“And her for him,” Gary concluded.
“Did you just call me your best friend?” Titus asked Ned.
“Sure. We’re the Master Quartet plus One and we’re going to be best friends forever no matter where we end up,” Ned replied.
“I like that. It is one more thing that makes me feel really good tonight. I felt so good after Ms Z and I finished playing and got so much applause and cheers that I realized something,” Titus said.
“What?” John asked.
“I want to do it tonight.”
“Do what?” Austin inquired.
“The one thing everybody in the Quartet has done during the camp except for me, because I’m a big wuss.”
“You mean you want to…?”
“Yep,” Titus nodded, “I want to have my ass fucked. That makes three things that make me feel good. Friends, music, and sex.  And I want it to be Austin doing it so Gary can make Ned feel really good.”
“But…,” Austin looked over at William. He thought for sure he and his boyfriend would celebrate their great night as Master Musicians by having extra fun in bed.
“Do you know what I think?” William asked.
“Not unless you tell me.”
“I think the big celebration should be tomorrow when we kick ass and go to the big final recital because we were so fucking good. Then we have an extra incentive to be fucking good in bed. I think that if Titus is going to lose his cherry, it’s only right that it happens here in camp by somebody in the Master Quartet—and that somebody should be you.”
“But what are you going to do?” Austin asked.
“That’s easy,” John volunteered.
The Quartet plus one gazed at him to see what he had in mind.
“William is learning to get comfortable with being gay. I’m not saying he should fuck a bus load of boys to prove his gayness, but I do think it wouldn’t hurt him to have a gay boy stick a teen cock up his ass.”
William looked at Austin, silently asking for his permission.
Austin all but read his mind. “Do it. Then we’ll have something really sexy to talk about tomorrow.” He glanced at John and Titus and said, “No offense, guys, but William and I agreed not to keep any secrets from each other.”
William almost squawked out, “We did?” but not before the thought struck him that even if they hadn’t agreed to it, they should. “Austin is right—no secrets,” William said without admitting they had never agreed to that policy.
And so there were six boys in three rooms on three beds as every member of the Master Quartet Plus One enjoyed anal sex at the same time.
Gary fucked Ned on the empty bed. As he fucked his best friend, Gary discovered he could go harder and harder and until he was pounding the smaller boy’s ass. The noise attracted the attention of a proctor who listened at the door until he realized he needed to hurry to his room to take care of urgent business.
After cumming in Ned’s ass, Gary kept his cock in the warm environment of his friend’s anus. His cock stayed erect and round two quickly commenced. It wasn’t as hard and ferocious as round one—it was more love making than fucking, with pauses for kissing being worked in.
Ned found himself more turned on by the second round than the first as Gary worked his prostate, traded tongue, sucked his nipples, and caused him to cum twice before shooting into his ass for the second time that night. The two lovers cleaned up and cuddled in Gary’s bed.
“That was the best ever,” Ned murmured seemingly forgetting it was only his second time ever. “I had three cums tonight.”
“You’re the best ever. We’ve got to do it again before Sunday,” Gary said.
“I want to do it to you next time.”
“You’re on.”
There was nothing more to be said and the boys soon feel asleep.
William’s session with John was all about sex, which suited the fourteen-year-olds fine. As tacitly agreed upon in the dining hall, John was the top.
John, who was an experienced top, was careful to make William’s experience as pleasant as possible. One thing William noted almost from the start was how having a bigger cock in his ass enhanced his experience. John expertly worked his sweet spot in ways that Austin couldn’t. On the other hand, Austin worked his heart and understood him in ways that John never could.
It was a good lesson for William—the sex was good; it was very good. It was two hard orgasm’s worth of good for him. But love was better. It lasted longer and was deeper even when there were no orgasms involved.
Austin had learned from Gary and William the importance of being caring and gentle when going up someone’s ass for the first time. He fingered Titus with one, two, and three fingers, all thoroughly lubed. He gently kissed his best friend and ran his fingers and then his tongue over his nipples. Austin kissed and licked Titus’s ass, having no clue where that idea originated. But from Titus’s moans of pleasure, he must be liking it and it certainly wasn’t as gross as he thought it would be when he licked into his friend’s crack. He wondered if anyone had ever pushed his tongue into someone’s ass and then decided it wasn’t something he wanted to do. Licking inside Titus’s ass crack would be his limit.
Austin then rubbed gobs of lube on his cock and Titus’s ass. He gently entered his friend’s portal and slid his cock halfway in.
“Are you okay?”
“I liked your fingers better,” Titus moaned. “Can you touch that place you touched with your fingers.”
“I have to push deeper to do it.”
“Do it slow.”
In halting steps, with thrusts that were sometimes smooth and sometimes hard, Austin improved his technique and Titus relaxed enough to enjoy the experience he was having on Austin’s bed.
“I’m cumming, Titus, I’m gonna cum in your ass,” Austin groaned. Titus swore he could feel Austin cum, but he wasn’t sure. What he was sure about was that he felt empty as Austin removed his softening cock plus, he was sure that the experience made him horny. He jerked off to a dry cum that shook his body from head to toe.
“How did you like it?” Austin asked after the two boys settled in Austin’s bed.
“It hurt a few times, it felt good a lot of times. I don’t know what I was scared of.”
“Do you think you’ll do it again?”
“I want Ned to do it to me and I want to do it to him.”
“I hope you can do it. We only have three nights left.”
“That’s plenty of time,” Titus said. “I just hope he wants to do it.”
“Oh, I’m pretty sure he will.”
Austin fell sleep with Titus draped over him wondering if William enjoyed himself as much as he did.
The Master Musicians had mastered the evening. From their music on stage to their music in bed, the evening had been a beautiful symphony of musical harmony and the love of special friends.
Next: Encore