The Sandy Bottom Orchestra (2000) - full transcript

A concert pianist marries a Wisconsin farmer. The struggles that comes with that. - stop by if you're interested in the nutritional composition of food

[wind whistling]

There's a summer
in every life

when one door closes
and another opens,

leading you to a place
you'd only dimly imagined.

That summer for me happened

a few years ago in my hometown,
Sandy Bottom, Wisconsin.

And before it was over,

my family and our little town
would be changed forever.

It all started simply enough,
as summers do,

with the crack of dawn.

[violinist playing]

Breakfast is almost ready.

You're sounding better,
but watch your "A", it's flat.

Leave it to Mother,
she could praise you,

shame you, and feed you
in the same breath.

[classical music playing]

-How's Mahler this morning?

Well, the woodwinds need
a little work, but, uh... huh...


Hey, do I smell bacon?

You smell it all right, but
that's all you're going to do.

It's for Rachel.
You're having oatmeal.

Oh, just a slice?

Well, you know
your cholesterol level.

Besides, what good
is being married

to the best-looking man in town
if he's six feet under?


I'm ready to pack my bags
and leave this town.

I mean it this time, Norman!

This whole Ramsey Building
fiasco is driving me nuts.

It's a new low in small town

General's at her post.

I mean it this time.

That Mayor Broadbutt
better think twice

if he thinks he's going
to railroad this town

with another one
of his mindless schemes.

It's Broadbent, Mom,
not Broadbutt.

Have you seen him lately?

He wants to take
a magnificent building,

the only magnificent building
within 50 miles,

and raze it so that he could put
up a gas station, a video store,

and now, the latest:
a pizza parlor.

And there's a town council
meeting tonight at 6:00.

I think we should all be there.

We are proud of you
for fighting the good fight...

but one battle at a time.

Last week you blew
a gasket because the Board of Ed

dropped Spanish from
the high-school curriculum.

Yeah, they were wrong to do it;
it's xenophobic.

But we're in Wisconsin.
Who needs Spanish?

[Ingrid] Do you see?

You go out there... and you
shake that tree, my love.


I'm late for a meeting
at the dairy,

and you're late for school.

Well, I'm going to win
the battle this time, Norman.

I really am.

I have no doubt.

Bye, hon.

Rachel, your knapsack!

-Bye, Mom.

Phoebe Hanson?

Coach says we've got a shot
at the regionals.

Can't you see us going
all the way

to Green Bay Championship
this summer?

I can see you doing
just about anything.

So, what did you decide?

Come on, try out.

We'd have such a blast
playing together.

Well, you know,
I'd probably just embarrass you.

-Hey, Carol.
-Hey, Carol.

-Hi, Rachel.


Hey, you guys,
let's show Rachel our new cheer.


You know O'Connel's Jewelers
is sponsoring the team

this year, well, uh...

Valerie and I came up with this.


♪ We're O'Connel's
And we're no fools! ♪

♪ We got the brains
And we got the jewels! ♪

♪ We got the diamonds
We got the rubies! ♪

♪ All you got is a pair
Of boobies! ♪

[all laughing]

-Isn't she great, Rachel?
-The best.

[Jenny] Come on, guys,
let's go make sure

our basketball lockers
are together.


Oh, uh...
see you later, huh?

[Rachel] Yeah, later.

[bell ringing]

All right, everyone.

The assignment was to imagine
that you're something familiar

in your house,

like a... a chair, or a plate,

or a picture,

and to tell your story.

Who would like to go first?

Was this for today?

Rachel Green,
why don't you start us off?

"What the piano knew."

I'm a piano, nine feet long,

though not as shiny
as I once was, but still grand.

My story begins in 1970.

A young man named Norman Green

at the university would walk
past the music building

every morning on his way
to class.

The music pouring out the open
window made him feel happy.

But the sound of one piano
in particular attracted him.

It was the playing
of Ingrid Mueller.

[playing ballad]

When the beautiful pianist
with the long red hair

gave her senior recital,

Norman planted himself
right in the front row.

But Ingrid's father August
was afraid Norman

was not cultivated enough
for his daughter.

When they announced
their engagement,

he gave them a piano so big
and wonderful,

they would never be able
to put music behind them.

And when they moved
to Sandy Bottom

with their baby daughter,

I took my place
in their dining room.

I hear everything
in this house.

But a piano keeps its secrets

and doesn't go telling stories
until it's asked.

Then I become the voice
of all the sadness

and joy inside her.

The end.

Well, thank you, Rachel.

All right, who's next?

Todd Gustaffson.


I am the Gustaffson's
toaster oven.

I have two speeds:
hot and very hot.

[choir singing off-key]

Stop, stop, stop, stop.

It's terrible.


Mr. Geckle, you are nowhere
near that B-flat. Listen.

-[playing B-flat]
♪ A-a-a

♪ A-a-a...


I love that high part,
sounds just like birds.

All right.
Look, I know it's a stretch,

but if we just give it
our all...

It's such beautiful music,
so come on, let's do it.

What was wrong with
"Rock of Ages"

or "A Mighty Fortress
is Our God"?

Mrs. Granlund,
we've been through this.

Now, I agreed to take this job

if we could expand
our repertoire,

but you have been kicking
and screaming all the way there.

Not me, Mrs. Green.

I-I think it's wonderful!

I know.

Let's just break for today,

But please, please, please,
review the Harbison at home.

And then let's come back Friday
with a whole new outlook, okay?


Challenging rehearsal,

Well, I'm afraid so, Jim.

They just weren't interested
in Harbison today.

Well, I warned you about this.

The, uh...

members of Bethesda don't cotton
readily to change.

Well, I know that, Jim.

And I love the old hymns,
and I haven't forgotten them.

But there is other music,
rich and beautiful

and complicated music
that people should hear.

Maybe, in the concert hall.

Well, you yourself said
that this was a "hall of God,"

so what better place
for such glorious music?

You're a clever woman, Ingrid.

Maybe a bit too clever.

Well, when they put
a ceiling on intelligence,

I'm sure you'll
let me know, Jim.

See you on Friday.

My best to Miriam.

Oh, how beautiful!

The last of my peonies.

[Delia] Oh, aren't you sweet.

Come in, come in, dear friend.

Oh, thank you.


the Reverend Sykes again?

Hm, how can you tell?

-You're puffing like a pugilist.
-Ah, this town!

Nothing but teeny little minds
and great big lawnmowers.

Oh, it's not that bad.

They made you choir director,
and that reflects taste.

You and I both know
it was your suggestion,

after you slipped on the ice
in front of the church,

that got me the job.

That was a clever moment.

[both chuckle]

"Take an opening,"
Harry always used to say.

Any opening.

Still, they're very lucky
to have you.

Oh, I see that your, uh...

your old college friend
Phoebe Hanson

is in the newspapers
again today.

Singing in Vienna now.


She's living a wonderful life.

Oh, to be sure.

Oh, but a new city
every month.

No family, no roots.

What kind of life must that be?

Just trying to remind you that
all that glitters isn't gold.

You traded up, Ingrid.

And you should never regret
that choice.

[Ingrid] I don't.

I just wonder sometimes
what it would be like to be...

part of something really

To feel like you really fit in.

in just the right place,

with people who
really appreciated you.

I never noticed that before.

It's Sandy Bottom.


From the old Taylor place
on the hill.

I brought it down
from the guest bedroom today.

Harry painted it years ago,
when he was in one of his moods.

He made the town
look beautiful.

And you know what
a curmudgeon he was.

He's the only person I know
who railed harder than you

against small town thinking.

But in his heart,
he really loved this place.

It was in every brush stroke.

There's nothing wrong
in wondering

what your life might have been,

But don't overlook
what you hold in your hands.

-What's that?

It's very healthy.
You'll love it.

And hurry up because we've gotta
be at the meeting in an hour.

So, what's happening
at the world's greatest dairy?

Well, I have some news.

I've made a decision about
this year's Dairy Days concert.

You know, in the past,
we've done, uh...

oh, marching bands,
and oom-pah bands

until we're blue in the face.

So I got to thinking

that Sandy Bottom is ready
for something...


Such as?

Such as...

a real classical concert,

using the best musicians
from all over the county.

like Mozart classical?

-[Ingrid] Um...

could you get the ice pack,

'Cause I think your father
must be burning up.

I'm serious. Now why shouldn't
this town experience

something sophisticated
for once? Right?

A little high art couldn't hurt.

Classical music
in Sandy Bottom?

Norman, it's an oxymoron!

They would laugh you right out
of the bandshell.

Well, I'm surprised to hear
that coming from you, Ingrid,

the last defender of the muse.

Well, I personally
would love it, but you know,

I would be just about
the only one.

I think it's a great idea.


All right,
so I've got two takers.

Now, come Labor Day,

the whole town will be glad
I thought of it.

Hey, you just wait and see.

[mayor] The simple fact is that
the Ramsey Building

has to come down...

to make way for these valuable

and needed services
for the community.

Yeah, like pizza.

Now, I know I'm not alone...

when I say that this idea
of turning the Ramsey into

some kind of art complex is just
a hairbrained scheme...

to get the taxpayers
to fund a private playground

for the three or four people
in town

who like to listen to this
screechy-scratchy music

and look at pieces of junk that
somebody stuck up on the wall

and called art.

[man] Hear, hear!

I just wish the whiners
and the naysayers

and the oh so "chick"
radical element

who expect government to build
their fantasy world

would just all go away and let
decent, hardworking people

enjoy the wonderful town
that Sandy Bottom is.

[loud cheers]

All right, all right.

We haven't lost our civility,
have we?

Let's have order here.

Ingrid, uh... Mrs. Green.

Thank you, Fred.

Um, I know the mayor and,
and plenty of others here

would probably like to see
nothing better

than my backside going
to Minneapolis.

[crowd chuckles]

But I'll be darned

if I'm going to let
this very narrow view

of public good stand
without a fight.

Now I think that this town needs

to preserve what little it
possesses in the way of history.

And the Ramsey Building is
a link between who we've been

and where we're going.

[scattered applause]

And you speak for this town,
Mrs. Green?

[Ingrid] Well, maybe, maybe not.

Now I'm not saying
that the Ramsey Building

has to be an art center.

There are probably plenty
of other uses, things
we haven't thought of yet.

I'm just saying, let's not swing
the wrecking ball

before we've thought about it,

because our children might
regret it in the morning.

Oh, here we go again.

Well, if it's a fight you want,

it's a fight you'll get,
Mrs. Green.

Well, Mayor, there's nothing
I'd like better.

So may the best man win.

[laughter and applause]

So it had begun,

my mother's quest to save a
piece of Sandy Bottom history.

...the first Swedish settlers.

Look at this hand-carved...

She organized the
troops at the Ramsey Building

and launched a campaign
to win over

all the doubting Thomases
in our town.

These are hand-hewn
white pine boards...

My father was becoming
the impresario

of northern Wisconsin,
booking a conductor

and producing
what he had hoped would be

the high-water mark

of Sandy Bottom's
dubious musical history.

I was just hoping to survive
both of their schemes

with a shred
of personal dignity.

So tell me honestly,
on a scale of like 1 to 10...

how weird is my mom? Like a 9?

No, maybe a 6.

A 6 or a 7.


But I still like her.

-You do?
-She's cool.

My dad thinks she's the smartest
person in town.

Hey, Carol, Ginny's having
a slumber party

for the team tomorrow.

Can you come?

-Um, what about Rachel?

it's Ginny's party, and she's
just invited the team.

I don't want to come
without her.

Hey, if it's for team members,
it's for team members.

-You sure?
-Sure I'm sure.

-Okay, then count me in.
-Great, later on.

Thanks for taking a stand.

What do you mean?

You said you didn't care.

Look, I don't, okay?

You have your new friends
and you don't have time

for your old one.

Well, that's not fair.

Look, you're busy
with baseball.

And you've got violin.

So we like different things.

So what?

And different people.

Okay, we're different.
Have we settled that?

I've got to get to class.

in Sandy Bottom

could make you
a very lonely person.

Terrific... terrific!

Um... no, I'll work out
the details

with your representatives.

I look forward to meeting you.


See you in a few weeks. Bye.


How is my gorgeous daughter?

Why so glum, huh?

It's nothing.

You're pretty chipper.

Well, you are looking at the man

who just signed the talented
and brash...

young Adam Cornish...

to conduct the Dairy Days

Adam Cornish from Boston?

The very same.

Wow! I'm impressed.

Even your mother might be
won over by this news, huh?


-Guess what.

I want you...
in the violin section.


Yeah. I know you can do it, and
you're going to get paid, honey.

I mean, it's not much.

Yeah. It's like the life
of a real musician.

You know, I, uh...
I, uh...

I think I've done enough work
for one day.

All right?

You want to... you want to take
a walk with me in the meadow?




Take a deep breath.

This is what green smells like.

Is everything all right
with you?

You don't seem quite yourself
these days.

I don't know what myself is
supposed to be.

I know that...

I don't fit in very well.

You know what kids used
to call me when I was 14?


But you're right-handed.

Mmm, well, I'm afraid
you inherited the, uh...

"no good at sports" gene.


Boy, kids can be so cruel
sometimes, you know?

How did you stand it?


Well, I spent a lot of time

tramping in the fields,
the woods.

And then I started noticing

really beautiful things,

that I'm sure the kids in town
were missing.

Like, um... like how
a milkweed grows, and, uh...

the special care a...
a duck takes

in building its nest.

And that got me interested
in science,

and after a while, uh...

I stopped feeling lonely.

And I started to feel like
I was a part of...

the wonders that were happening
all around me.

Does that make any sense?

I love you, Dad.

You know, there is no
one right way to grow up.

You're doing it
Rachel Green's way.

And it's lovely to watch.

With school out

and Carol disappearing into
the world of girl's baseball,

I tried making other friends.

But a good dose of Norman
and Ingrid's eccentric side

was generally enough

to guarantee
my solitary existence.

[Ingrid] And if the Mayor
and his cohorts

think they'll prevail,

they've got another thing

Who's that?

Because those of us
with a conscience

cannot help but be outraged...

-My mother.
-Who's she talking to?

No one.

Um... she's formulating.

She... writes letters.

Hey, is that you, Rachel?

Listen, tell me
what you think of this.

-M-Mom, not now, okay?
-Mr. Mayor...

Who's your new friend?

This is Melanie.

We're going to go in the back.

[Ingrid] Okay, sweetie.
Nice to meet you.

And since when did videos
replace reading...

Since when...

when did videos replace reading?

Ninth Symphony plays]

Hey, girls.

Have you ever heard anything
so magnificent, huh?

W-wait, w-wait,
here come the horns...


Come on, give it to me!

["Ode to Joy" playing]

There was always

the day reserved
for my violin lesson

at Mr. Amidore's music school
in Oshkosh.

It was a long drive,

but I never minded,
because in those days,

Mr. Amidore's was
the only place

where I felt sort of normal.

[indistinct chatter]


Here's my Rachella
and Mrs. Green.

Delightful to see you.

[Ingrid] Hello, Mr. Amidore.

I've made brownies,


-You have one too, Mrs. Green.
-[Ingrid] Thank you,
Mrs. Amidore.

-These, these look great.

Oh, you have. Come, come.
That's it.

Oh, musicians...

they're all skin and bone.

All right, time to tune up.

Here are the brochures
from Interlochen.

I will not say a word to Rachel.

I'll leave that up to you.
But I urge you to consider it.

Now I warn you:
the requirements are strict,

and the auditions
can be grueling.

Is she really good enough?

You know she is.

"Meditation from Thais"]

No, no, no!

What are you doing?

You're not concentrating.

The violin makes music because
it sits just above the heart.

But how can you connect the two

unless you feel the music?


Thank you.

A student like you makes up
for all the others.

I'll speak with
your mother a moment.



Was he a bear?

No more than usual.

He bit my head off earlier.

But you're his favorite.

Probably he couldn't find
much to yell at.

I hear your dad's putting
together an orchestra

for Dairy Days?

I got a call
from a booking agent.

They're paying and everything.

I'm going to be playing too,

and he's getting Adam Cornish
to conduct.

That's fantastic!

I know, he's so talented.


I mean, that you'll be playing,



see... see you next Saturday?


Interlochen Arts Academy.

That's a million miles away.

It's Michigan, Norman.

And she would have to live there
during the school year.

No way!

I don't want her leaving home.

What's wrong with Mr. Amidore?

Well, he can only take her
so far.

He said so himself.

I mean, he is the one
who suggested Interlochen.

Well, she's a baby, she belongs
here in Sandy Bottom.

She's 14, Norman, and she's
already showing signs of having

the talent "blanded" out of her.


You see how she is.

She tries to please everyone,

she's trying to please
the wrong people.

At Interlochen,
she would be exposed

to a whole world of music,
and art, and...

things you just...
you can't get here.

That world exists in... in
New York, or Chicago at least.

Not Sandy Bottom.

Yeah, this place
has a sense of community.

You can't get that
in a big city.

All you get is... arrogance.

A herd of cows has a sense
of community, Norman.

Last time I looked, those cows
did pretty well by this family.

Do you want her to...
look back and... and wonder

what she might have become

because we didn't at least
offer her a chance?

Like I took your chance away.

I chose.

And I chose pretty damn well.


maybe we could write them.





By the next morning,
the letter was posted.

By noon, Mother had another
crisis on her hands.

[choir singing fugue]

Is something wrong,
Mrs. Granlund?

Mrs. Green, pardon me
for being forward,

but I don't think this music
belongs in the Lutheran Church.

It may be nice in Carnegie Hall
with professionals,

but it doesn't do anything
for me.

Either you're in
the wrong place, or I am.

Well, Mrs. Granlund,
I have no intention of leaving.

Very well.

Coming, Cora?

Please, don't do this.

You'll be hearing
from Reverend Sykes.

There must have been
something in the air that day,

because the hurt simmering
between Carol and me

boiled into a row, too.

I said awful things,
she said awful things.

It was clear to me

that I just didn't fit into
her world anymore.

I'd be alone forever now.


[violin playing "Ave Maria"]

[Norman] Anyone home?

Up here, Norman.



What... what's wrong?

Adam Cornish jumped ship on us.


He's history,
got a better offer.

The booking agent tried
to get a replacement,

but no one's available,
so he suggested...

that we bag the concert.

Oh, no! Norman!

Oh, I'm so sorry.

[Rachel] Me too, Daddy.

So I got to thinking,

that punk is not going
to ruin our Dairy Days.

You know?

If that turkey thinks he's
the only conductor in Wisconsin,

well, then I say... ha!

He thinks he's such a genius
that he can cancel on a whim.

I say, "Well, go ahead,
Mr. Big Shot, 'cause...

I'll conduct them myself."

Norman, you've never conducted
an orchestra.

Yeah, well...
not yet, maybe.

I mean, there was a time

when Leonard Bernstein
hadn't conducted an orchestra,

so what did he do?

He got up...
and he conducted one.

You see what I'm saying? See?

W-what's the big mystery
about it?

you're not Leonard Bernstein.

And he wasn't Norman Green.

I know music.

I love it, I can read music.

What is a conductor?

He's not a musician,
a musician plays.

A conductor pulls everyone
together and, and...

guides everyone
in the same direction.

See? I can do that.

Oh, Lord!

Well... it's a done deal.

All we've got to do is go around
town and change all the posters.

Let me see those!

Ha-ha. Sandy Bottom hasn't
heard the last from this family.

[chorus singing
Beethoven's "Ode to Joy"]

["Ode to Joy" continues]

[cow moos]


[Delia] Oh, in the living room,

Oh, Dr. Winters,
is everything all right?

[Delia] Rachel too!

Come on, give me a kiss.

Oh, no, everything's just fine.

Not to worry.

For now, but her angina's back,
and it's getting worse.

You've got to get more rest,

Stop exerting yourself.


I may not have many more gardens
left in me,

and I still have
to plant my bulbs.

Well, Rachel and I can do that
for you.

[Dr. Winters]
Ah, she's impossible.

Sam, I am not a fool.

At my age, I am not buying
new wine,

and I'm not planting
young trees,

but I must have my flowers!

What are you going to do
with a woman like this?

Just stay out of her way!

I'll be back Friday.

I'll have the pharmacy drop
your prescription by.

Thank you, Sam.

-Thank you, Doctor.


I'm worried about you.

Haven't you enough
on your plate already?


I hear the pews are quaking
over at Bethesda.

Well, I'm waiting for the shoe
to drop.

Is it so awful to try
to get people

to broaden their horizons?

Of course not, honey.

This would never happen
in Minneapolis.

Thoreau wrote his best works
in a town

one-tenth the size
of Sandy Bottom.

Mmm, but they also put him
in jail.

Oh... [chuckles]

Oh, you...

Can I ask you something?

Are you and Daddy happy?

I mean, are you glad you married
each other?

Of course we are.

Well... is there some kind
of problem with me?

I found the letter
from Interlochen.

It was opened.

Sweetie, Interlochen is
a school for kids in the arts.

It's got nothing to do with you
being a problem

and nothing
to do with Daddy and me.

We were going to tell you...

as soon as we knew
that we could afford it.

And then we would consider it

and we would make a choice.

I think they could bring out
your talent there
and help you to develop it.

Maybe I don't have that much
to develop.

Spoken like a true artist.


Higher, higher!

Attack stronger.
Attack stronger!

That's enough for now.

I'm really trying, Mr. Amidore.

I know.

This is new territory.

It's always painful.


Hey, there's my women.

Hey, come here. Look.

I've picked out the music
for the concert, um...

Ives' "Variations on America,"

Mozart's A-major
piano concerto.


Uh... that's brave, Norman.

Brave to the point of insanity.

This is... this is really
challenging material.

Who exactly are you going to get
to play the piano in the Mozart?

Me? No.
No, no, no, no, no, no...

No. No!

Of course you! You're the best
pianist in a country mile.

And if I'm not mistaken,

this was your graduation
recital piece, right?

Now you should sail
through this.

Come on, Mom.
I think it's a great idea!

No, you are...
you are crazy, both of you!

Honestly, I-I haven't played
for an audience, you know,

in 15 years.

No, really, no.

Half this town, you know,
wants my head already

and they would just be holding
their breath

for my first mistake.

-But, Ingrid, I'm telling you...
-No, really.

Seriously, they would howl me
off the stage

before you ever
even raised your baton.

Hey, hey. Let them howl.

We'll face them together.

[sighs, stammers]
This... is...

No, no.
Really, really, I'm flattered.

Really I am, but,
but, uh...

I won't be the one
to lead you to the slaughter.

So you have to find
somebody else to do that.

So... I don't want
to hear about it

from either one of you. Okay?

That's that.


Your mother...

Frankly, Ingrid...
your choice of music

and your treatment of the choir
members is causing, um...

deep discomfort.

But even so, we pulled off
the Bach last month.

You remember? You yourself said
that you found it moving.

Well, yes.

But the church is here
to welcome people,

not to make them feel inferior.

Well, the church can be
as welcoming as it likes,

but, you know, some people just
can't sing worth beans.

The ill feeling has gone
well beyond the choir loft.

And how do you expect people
to keep their minds

on spiritual matters
during those explosive,

almost heathen organ preludes
you play?


Eugene, that's ridiculous.

Let me put it more simply:

Mrs. Granlund is not a person

who I want to see going over
to the Methodists.

Well, I suggest that Mrs. Green
submit all of her music

to the Worship Committee
for approval beforehand.

Seems reasonable to me, Ingrid.

Oh, that'd be fine with me.

As long as I get to edit
your sermons.

All right, Mrs. Green, we have
a proposition for you.

Now, you've complained for years
about this little house.

There's no room to spread out,

no room for grandchildren...
if and when we have them.


All that can change because,

the old Taylor house is
up for sale.

This could be the home
of your dreams right here,

in Sandy Bottom.

Honey, what's wrong? Ingrid?

If it weren't for you
and Rachel,

I'd leave here this minute!

For 14 years, I've tried to fit
in here, tried to...

matter to people
in this mud puddle!

But it's no use!

What happened?

They fired me!



It's finally out in the open,

they just don't feel
that I belong,

and I can't disagree anymore!

My father was extra
sweet to her that night.

And though the storm over
Mother's firing at Bethesda

continued to rumble
in our household,

she wasn't down for long.

Without the choir
to distract her,

she was on an all-out mission
to save the Ramsey Building.

In her heart,
she thought if she failed,

she'd have to leave
Sandy Bottom once and for all.

[indistinct chatter,
orchestra tuning up]

Hey, Rachel.

Hi, Scott!

-So this is it, huh?
-Yeah, I guess so.

Well, good luck to all of us,


I've got to go tune up.
See you, okay?

Violins, spread out!

You look like overstuffed

You are?

Rachel Green.

Oh, the conductor's daughter.

Well, we shall see, um...

Don't mind Klonowski.

His bark is worse than his bite.

I'm Evelyn Carlson.

Welcome to the Funny Farm.

I don't know your father's work,

Where has he conducted?

Oh... you know, here and there.

Mostly, um... local things.

Good afternoon!
I'm Norman Green.

And, uh...
let's start with the Ives.

We, uh...

We need an "A".

Of course.


[Klonowski] A question
for oboes, Maestro.

In measure 51, uh,
what are our notes?

There may be a mistake
in the part.


No, they seem right to me.

But, um...

Let's see what happens
when we get there.

[Klonowski] Okay.

All right, let's, uh,
let's take her for a test run,

shall we?

From the top.
Little slower tempo at first.

One, two, three, one, two...

Fifteen minutes, people.

Then right back.

Your father is doing fine.

Ah, he's a little bumpy
in spots,

but at least he's got
music sense.

Do you really think so?

Oh, believe me, if he didn't,
he'd be dead already.

We're an unforgiving lot.

And I'm going for coffee.

-Hey, Rachel.
-Hi, Scott.

Violins sound good.

You especially.

-You can't hear me!
-No, I can.

I know your sound.

It's... it's warmer
than the rest.

I was wondering if...

maybe you wanted
to go out sometime?

[Norman] Hey!

[Ingrid] Ah!

Well, no visible wounds!

Oh, it was great.
You should've seen Dad.
He was amazing.

Really? And you made it through
the fast part okay?

Ah, some of it was wretched.

we ended at the same time.

Well, I'll be darned.

Yeah, I tried to give them
a clear downbeat,

and they took it from there.

Sometimes you have
to let go of the reins

and trust the horses will
take you back to the barn.

-And that worked?
-[sighs] Seemed to.

Oh! This calls for a big,
fat pork chop dinner.


How many households
in Sandy Bottom

have a conductor in residence?

Besides, you'll need

for the Mozart next week.

I couldn't recall
a happier time.

For one night at least,

the Greens of Sandy Bottom
seemed almost normal.

[playing ragtime]

[Rachel and Norman chuckling]

That's a fine idea.

Really capital.

But we've got to get the town
council to postpone demolition

for a few weeks,
because we need time

to organize the clothing
and the food bank.

And we could finally
move meetings

out of that cramped townhall.

It's got really magnificent
walls for artwork,

and the high school artists
would have

an absolute field day, I think.


Oh, I admire your dreams
and your zeal.

If I were ten years younger...

I'd be on the front lines
with you.

What would I do without you?

♪ No to pizza, yes to art

♪ Sandy Bottom have a heart!

♪ No to pizza, yes to art!

-Mrs. Green!

Here, hold this sign up

and maybe you'll be
on the 6:00 news.

I'm on it, Mrs. Green.

You guys look great!

My Broadway complex idea
will bring in real dollars.

Not just for me but
for the whole town.

And sooner or later the council

will understand
that simple fact.

We will prevail.

Right over might, every time.

[Charlotte] Ingrid, are there
any more petitions?

They're all out there
on the table.

Why isn't Reverend Sykes here?

I know he fired me,
but he of all people

should be here to support
the food expansion.

Haven't you heard?

His wife's very ill; paralyzed
with depression they say.

He had to check her into
a hospital in Milwaukee.

-Yeah, it's just awful.

I guess she's been suffering
with it for a long time.

And now...
Well, Jim's got his hands full.

What with three boys and no wife
to help out and...

I thought you knew.


[ringing bell]

[car starts]

[car drives off]

♪ Rock of ages cleft for me

♪ Let me hide

♪ Myself in thee

♪ Let the water and the blood

♪ From thy riven side

♪ Which flowed

♪ Be of sin

♪ The double cure

♪ Cleanse me from

♪ Its guilt and power

Good morning.

Before we begin today,

I'd like to take a moment
to thank you all

for your concern about Miriam.

I have communicated your cards
and your calls to her...

and I believe they are helping.


I'd like to tell you
about one...

generous act in particular
that has surprised me.

And I thought, having ministered
for 15 years,

that there were
no more surprises.

But I was wrong.

Last night...

somebody left a week's worth
of meals for me and my boys

on our front porch.

There was, uh...

there was no note.

Just the reassurance in that...

lovely act of kindness in
the dark that we are not alone.

In my...

in my deep distress, I had come
to believe that we were.

How wrong I was.


We misjudge each other...

if in the heat of argument
or disagreement,

or in the simple routines
of daily life,

we fail to see that God
is in each of us, always,

struggling to love
and to be loved in return.

We are, none of us, alone.

We belong to each other.

I thank you,
my anonymous friend,

for refreshing my faith.

The concert loomed.

In just three weeks,

my father would either make
a complete fool of himself

or become a local hero.

He'd hired a wunderkind
16-year-old pianist

from Green Bay
to play the Mozart.

The first rehearsal with him
was scheduled

for the coming weekend.

Now, Mrs. Johnson,

the temperature will be
set at 72 degrees.

Oh, no! I understand.

Don't give it a second thought.

I agree.

I think it's crucial
that we protect his hands.



Norman, what have you gotten
yourself into?

Um, Mrs. Johnson is a bit
protective of young Drew.

Well, she sounds like a kook
if you ask me.

But does he even know
the Mozart?

She says he does,
forwards and backwards.

Well, forward would be

-[phone ringing]

All right, if this is her...
tell her I'm milking a cow.


Yeah, just one minute.

It's Dr. Winters.


How is she?

It was a mild heart attack,

but she's not responding
to the medication.

And she absolutely refuses
to go to the hospital.

She asked for you, Ingrid.

Now, now.

None of that.

Are you in pain?

Not so bad, really.

You shouldn't have done
so much.

You should've rested more.

I was living, Ingrid.

And enjoying every minute of it.

Please don't leave me.

Well, I have to, dear.

Sooner or later.

You're the mother
I would have chosen.

[whispering] I know.

And you're the...
You're the only one

in this whole silly town
that I care about.


Oh, nonsense.

You belong right here.

Whether you know it yet or not.

Every Sandy Bottom
needs its Ingrid Green.


[children laughing]

have you heard about Delia?

I was at her house,
right behind you.

But she was sleeping
when I got there.

I'll call on her later.

I, uh...
[clearing throat]

I came to see you.

And I know it's not
the best of times.

Well, please, sit down.


I'll get right to it, Ingrid.

I want you back
as our choir director.

We, uh...

We just didn't know
what we had...

not until we lost it.

Aw, heck, Ingrid, you know
what that choir sounds like.



say yes.

Would the Worship Committee
be approving the music?

Absolutely not.

You'd be sole captain
of your ship.

And how about Mrs. Granlund?

Well, if...

if we lose her,
it'll be the Methodists' gain.


Well, of course I'll come back.

Oh, that's good!


That's just fine.


Well, I'd better be going.

How's Miriam?

It'll take time.

She's been very ill.

The pressures
on a minister's wife,

always being pushed
in front of people.

It hasn't been good for her.


I'm thinking about leaving
the ministry, Ingrid.

It's the first time
I've said it out loud.

There's a good real estate
course in Milwaukee, and, uh...

We'd be close to the doctors
if Miriam needs them.

Change might be good
for all of us.

We would miss you...

so much.

[Sykes] Well...

I think the town is still
in good hands.

I think these belong to you.


Thank you again.

And welcome back.

Mother's curiosity
finally got the best of her.

She just had to see
the piano wunderkind

my father had turned up.

Excuse me.

Where might I find
the conductor?

Oh, he's in the corner.

Oh, you must be Drew.

Yes, it is.

And I'm his mother,
Mrs. Johnson.

Ah, hello!

Drew, wait there.

Would you mind?

His name's Michele.

Oh, no treats!

Now, I don't care if the concert
is in a bandshell, Mr. Green.

Drew needs
a private dressing room.

Now I thought I made this clear.

He can't share a common space
because he needs to lie down

when he's not playing.

His sugar imbalance?

Now I told you this
on the phone!

Mrs. Johnson,
I'll see what I can do.

Maybe we can get an RV
or a camper...

Well, whatever,
but it needs to be quiet,

and it needs to be dark,
and curtains will be mandatory.

Now, do we understand
each other?

I believe we do.


Okay, now I'll go check on Drew,

and good luck with
your rehearsal.


Ladies and gentlemen,

it is my great pleasure
to introduce our soloist,

Mr. Drew Johnson from Green Bay.


Could somebody close that door
back there?

There's a wind howling
through here!

Thank you!

All right,
shall we try the Mozart?

A chill could ruin
his performance.

You know, I am so sorry about
shoving Michele on you,

Mrs. Green, but I thought
you were a musician.

[concerto begins]


Is everything all right?

That was your cue.

You know, I don't think
he can see you very well

from where he is, Mr. Green.

Carry on, Mr. Green.

[musicians murmuring]

[music resumes]

[piano out of sync]

[playing wrong notes]

[loudspeaker feedback]

Well, this piano bench
is wobbling!

You know,
I could see that from here!

Now if we could just take
two minutes

to see that it doesn't wobble

I think we're going to save
ourselves a lot of time here!



It's so embarrassing...

In a good way.

Excuse me!

You know, I was told that this
was a professional engagement!

Well, it is!
It is, Mrs. Johnson...

[man] It is a professional

-[Drew] Mom!
-You know this boy is a...

is a talented,
sensitive individual.

Mom, please!

-Just back... just sit down!
-Okay, all right.

Let's take it from the top.

I'm simply asking
for some kind of cooperation

and some kind of

If I could see that!

-Mom! Please, Mom!
-All right...

-Just an iota!
-Back off!

Would you just not speak to me
in that kind of voice?!

I've got the dog
shaking right now.

I don't need you yelling at me!

Mom, please!

I am trying to build
some kind of life for you!

If you could just stay out
of it for a minute!

Well, you're ruining it...

It went from bad
to disastrous.

Drew wound up in a shouting
match with his mother.

They called each other
some pretty awful names

before he finally stormed off
the stage.

And nobody in the orchestra,
including my father,

could disagree with him.

[Mrs. Johnson] Michele,
that's a good boy!

It was a mess
all right,

and the end of Drew Johnson,

[Mrs. Johnson]
I've had enough of this circus.


Oh, God!

Well, it's not
Sandy Bottom strawberry,

you know, but it'll pass.

So what are we going to do?

A week away and no soloist.

I don't know.

I guess we're ruined.

All right, Norman.
All right, I'll do it!

But it's a lot to ask
any pianist

to get ready that quickly.

Honey, honey, honey!

You know the music.

Knew it! That was years ago!

But you'd have to make
your own meals,

and, and keep the house
picked up,

because it's all I could do
to get ready by Labor Day.

We will cover for you,
right, Rachel?

Every second!

Ah! All right, all right!

Let's get a move on
because there's no time to lose.

Yes! Yes!

[playing sad tune]

That's so beautiful.

I didn't know anyone
was listening.

-You mind?

So, um...

how is baseball?

We're winning more than losing.

It's fun, I guess.

Oh, Rache.
I've been such a jerk!

I got so sucked into my team
and my new friends...

it hit me
that I'd almost lost you.


you're my very best friend
of all.


[Carol] I don't know anybody
who's cooler than you,

or more talented.

I just...

I just miss you.


Can we hang out some night?

Just the two of us.

You know, like we used to.

Tonight be okay?


Still friends?


Things are changing though,
aren't they?

A little.
Maybe it's not so bad.

We were worried.

It was less than a week away
now and mother still hadn't run

through the entire concerto.

It was time for drastic action.

How's the Mozart coming?

Fine. Absolutely fine.

[Rachel] I thought
you'd be practicing.

Yeah, well, I started to
and then I noticed how...

really dirty these floors
are and, um...

I mean, I couldn't practice
with all this dust

all over the place.

[Rachel] I could do that
for you, you know.

Rachel, don't be silly.

Really, I'm fine.
Just leave me alone, okay?

Please, you're starting
to remind me of your father.

[Rachel] Okay, Mom.

Thank you.

Yes, Norman. What is it?

[Norman] You need to rehearse.

You said so yourself.

Well, you know...

I know what I said.

The only problem is...

I can't do it!

Of course you can, honey!

You've got stage fright,
that's all.

They love

This whole town thinks the sun
rises over your shoulder.

But they will not accept music
from me!

Well, you haven't even
offered yet!


Oh, I got it! You know?

I finally got it, Ingrid.

You are a phony!


For years you have groused
about not fitting in

in Sandy Bottom. Right?

Everyone is beneath you!

"Teeny little minds"!
Isn't that what you always say?

Boy, that sure makes it easy,
doesn't it?

That way you never have to get
down on their level

and offer yourself honestly

and actually ask
for their affection.

So in your mind you become this
little lonely island of one!

Sandy Bottom doesn't want me!
They've made that pretty clear!

I'm Sandy Bottom, darling...

And I am no different
than anyone else.

You know, I work,
I... I raise my kid.

I've tried to make sense
of this crazy world

and I find it comforting

that there are others like me
up and down these streets,

trying to do the same thing!

Ingrid, all I have ever wanted
was to do those things with you.

[bell ringing]


[Ingrid weeping]

[Sykes] For everything
there is a season.

And a time for every matter
under Heaven.

A time to be born...

My father said
it sometimes took a death

to remind people how much
they had in common,

how much their lives
depended on each other.

[Sykes] ...and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn.

And a time to dance.

My mother took it
very hard.

She didn't seem able
to do anything,

much less touch the piano
for two more dark days.

You've been out here awhile.

Do you need anything?

No, thank you.

Yes, come sit with me.

When I was a little girl,

your grandfather would take me
out in the backyard

on summer nights like this.

Just the two of us,
for hours on end.

And he would tell me stories...

about the stars.

Brave Orion, and the Big Bear.

And Andromeda.

And it made me feel so safe.

What will you remember?


the meadows out by the dairy.


The smell of Saturday morning
crullers at the bakery.


Um... maple trees, when they
turn that deep gold.

The way Mrs. Wyman yells hello
from her front porch.

[both chuckling]

Things like that.


I guess Sandy Bottom's
not all bad.

It's home!

But I do wonder about
other places.

New York, Boston, London, Paris.

Maybe you can have both?

You know, I'm really sorry
about Mrs. Ferguson.

Me too.

Uh... I just thought of
something else I'll remember.

Your piano playing.

I'm your mother,
you have to say that.



When you play...

especially when you think that
no one's listening to you,

when you're happy,

or sad about something,

the music you make...


it's like your heart's talking.

I've always hoped one day...

I would be able to play...

to feel...

like you do.

That is one of the sweetest
things I've ever heard.

You know that it's a shame

that other people don't get
to hear you play.

Oh, maybe I...

I really don't have
that much to offer.

Spoken like a true artist.



I'm going to go to bed.

When did you get so wise?

Good night.

[piano playing]

My mother didn't get
much rest that night,

or the day after that,
or the day after that.

The surprises kept coming
that week.

On the 2nd of September,
Mr. Bateman,

the attorney in town,

asked my parents in for
the reading of Delia's will.

"And my other personal

including household goods,
to be auctioned.

The proceeds sent to
my brother's family in Duluth.

With one exception:

to Ingrid Green, I leave
my husband's watercolor.

She'll know which one.

And in her name, I bequeath
a quarter of a million dollars

for the renovation
and preservation

of the Ramsey Building..."

-"...with the understanding

that at least
part of the building

will be forever maintained
as a food, clothing

and employment center
for people in need.

I also leave a quarter
of a million dollars

to the Sandy Bottom
School District,

on the condition

that nothing impede my wishes
for the Ramsey."

[woman gasps]

We got to the park early.

My father said we could put on
our dresses at the bandshell.

It looked like all of
Sandy Bottom was turning out.

Look at all the cheeses.

It looks great!

Oh, it looks great!

Oh, look! Rhubarb pie!

-Look at that stuff up there!
-I love rhubarb!

[Rachel] Oh, and blueberry!

[Ingrid] Your favorite!

And there's a little caterpillar
made out of potatoes.

And there...

Oh, my goodness.

-Oh, Mom.

Hello, Mayor.

Oh, Mrs. Green,

so you got your wish
after all, eh?

That Delia was a sly one.

I have to say
I didn't see that coming.

I know you were disappointed.

Well, sure I am.

But it's hard to find fault
with a gift like that.

It wouldn't serve my next
mayoral race.


Always thinking.

[mayor] Name of the game,

Well now, well, what about you?

You beat me on the Ramsey,

but I bet you couldn't hit
the broad side

of a barn with a baseball.


Pay the man, Norman.



[mayor] Somebody get the lady
a basketball.


Oh, sign her up
for the other team right away.

Aww. [laughs]

[man] Heavy hitter here.


[cheers and laughter]

[playing "My Country
'Tis Of Thee"]

[applause and cheers]

Thank you.

Thank you very much.

And now something we hope really
delights you,

Mozart's A-major
piano concerto, number 23.

We have a change
in the program.

Due to circumstances beyond
our control,

Mr. Drew Johnson will not be
performing with us this evening.

Instead it gives me
great pleasure to introduce...

Ingrid Green.

[applause and cheers]

[playing concerto]

Mother was luminous
that night.

I don't think she ever looked
or sounded more beautiful.

It was as if everything came
together under the stars.

This was like a dream.

[Scott] Hey, Rachel!

Wait up!

You really were...

What a night.

I know, I'll never forget it.

Well, will you be back at
Mr. Amidore's again this fall?

Oh, um...


Actually, I'm...
I'm going to Interlochen.

If they'll take me.

No way!

I'm going there too.
I was afraid I'd be lonely.



It's great!

It really, really is beautiful.

In the years ahead,
I did see Paris and London

and many other
beautiful places.

But I was always glad to return
to my happy parents...

in the town where we belonged.