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VIDEO: Teaneck Met Opera Scorekeeper, 84, Recalls Worst Day

John Grande of Teaneck tells one of his favorite stories from when he worked as the scorekeeper for the Metropolitan Opera.
John Grande of Teaneck tells one of his favorite stories from when he worked as the scorekeeper for the Metropolitan Opera. Video Credit: Cecilia Levine
John Grande of Teaneck, 84, reads a chapter from his book, "Scorekeeper at the Met." Photo Credit: Cecilia Levine

TEANECK, N.J. -- The day that John Grande of Teaneck misplaced the box of music for the Metropolitan Opera’s 1963 Memphis performance was among the worst of his life, said John Grande, 84.

Grande, who plans to recount the tale while reading from his book, “Scorekeepr for the Met," at the Teaneck Library on April 10, said he arrived at each venue exactly two hours before every performance.

Except in Memphis.

Grande, who was the Metropolitan Opera's chief librarian for 38 years, said he decided to go several hours before the show to set up his music. The only problem was that he couldn’t find the box anywhere.

Grande asked the head prop director. He hadn’t seen it.

Without the music, the show couldn't go on.

Grande headed back to his hotel — crushed — to rest up before the performance. While he was sleeping, something amazing happened.

The head prop director tracked down the box -- Grande can't exactly remember whether a truck driver or opera official had it -- and it was shipped to Memphis in time.

Grande will be joined at the April 10 reading by his wife, opera singer Joan Grande, accompanied by pianist David Maiullo.

“I loved the job,” he said. “I worked very hard at times and went through some very stressful days and situations. But I loved it.”

The event begins at 2:30 p.m. at the Teaneck Library, 840 Teaneck Road. Light refreshments will be served. 

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