How the Trumpet Got Its Toot
A Children’s Opera by Anthony Plog
Based on a story by Ronald Kidd
Produced by Utah Opera, 2004
Once upon a time, a Trumpet was born to a pair of ordinary brass candlesticks. So begins a musical fable that introduces the instruments of the orchestra, while dealing in a charming, humorous way with themes that have always faced young people: leaving home to pursue one’s destiny, trying to discover what that destiny is, learning life’s lessons, dealing with rejection and failure, and following our dreams.
In Act One, the Trumpet realizes that he is not meant to be a candlestick but instead wants to play music. He meets a traveling Tuba named Joe, who describes a town called Sinfonia, where music is everywhere and the instruments of the orchestra live in harmony. The Trumpet, eager to go there, tearfully leaves his parents and sets out for Sinfonia with Joe to pursue his dreams.
Upon arriving in Sinfonia, the Trumpet is befriended by a Flute, who shows him that music can express joy, sadness, and the deepest desires of us all. As she finishes, a messenger announces a contest to determine who will be the Mayor’s new herald. Excited, the Trumpet decides to enter the contest.
A festive atmosphere opens Act Two as the crowd gathers for the contest. When the competition begins, each instrument or instrumental group auditions, so that we meet the instruments of the orchestra, discovering their unique sounds and personalities. The Trumpet, the last to audition, splatters the notes of a fanfare. The instruments laugh, and he slumps off in disgrace.
Several hours later, a disconsolate Trumpet walks the deserted streets of Sinfonia, wondering if he will ever discover his destiny. He notices that embers from the festival have started a fire, which is spreading through the town. The Trumpet yells for help, playing a fanfare loud and true. Windows open, people emerge, and they manage to put out the fire. The Trumpet’s fanfare has saved Sinfonia! He is appointed as the Mayor's new herald, finding his true calling at last.
“In the tradition of ‘Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra’ and ‘Peter and the Wolf’ comes Anthony Plog’s ‘How the Trumpet Got Its Toot,’ a fun little fable that acquaints listeners with orchestral instruments while delivering a useful lesson about perseverance, hard work, and finding one’s voice….. ‘Trumpet’ finds its voice, and it sings.”
The Salt Lake Tribune