Arriving at the theatre, I heard a band playing on the outside balcony and it sounded very good to me. I listened until they had finished, then went to the stage door, made myself known, and met the orchestra leader, a big "bluffy" fellow. His opening shot was, "Why didn't you hurry down and play outside with us? Well, get your viola out and hike up in the pit and play the overture. Hurry, now!" Delivered in a brusque manner. I did not like the way he talked to me and almost decided to turn back, but was agry enough to stay and show him I could play. I remained, and played the entire show.
Once, when I had played a variety show in Indianapolis I had used bass rosin on the bow to make the tone of my viola louder, and this night I leaned over to the bass player during an interval and borrowed some. The tone of my viola, which was really excellent, cut through the rest of the team, so that even the orchestra members turned to look in my direction. I vented my feelings against the leader in this way, playing as "bluffy" as he had talked to me. Imagine my surprise when the leader came to me after the show was finished and engaged me for the rest of the season to play viola inside the theatre, and second cornet outside before each performance. Playing two shows a day netted me $14.00 a week. It was a Godsend!
As is so often the case, upon better acquaintance I found the leader, Dave Morgan, to be quite a decent fellow. He asked me how I produced such a big tone on my viola, and was interested to know that using bass rosin produced that result. Of course, I had a splendid instrument - one of the best violas I have ever seen or heard.