The Really Terrible Orchestra of the Triangle (RTOOT) occupied the Chapel Hill Bible Church on Saturday, December 10th to bring awareness of their “Revenge of the Sugar Plum Fairy” show to Chapel Hill. Their radical notion of time, meter, and tuning, not to mention their elastic approach to musical phrasing, raised eyebrows among the crowd of musical enthusiasts. The conductor who goes under the nome de guerre, My Strow Hobgood assembled his collective of occupiers from throughout the Triangle area.
RTOOT’s initial musical salvo was a manfiesto of Leroy Anderson Favorites, “Blue Tango,” “Belle of the Ball,” “The Syncopated Clock,” and Serenata” that left the audience stunned by its use of enhanced syncopation. While the audience was still reeling, RTOOT lit into Johann and Josef Strauss’ Pizzicato Polka. It’s unclear of the piece was a joint composition of if each man blamed the other brother for it. RTOOT’s last number in their first set as the Prelude to Act 1 of Hansel and Gretel interpreted through the eyes of political correctness.
After intermission, RTOOT assaulted the holidays with a medley of excerpts from The Nutcracker, including the RTOOT dancers whose movements appeared more like a brewing riot than a dance troupe. That was followed by a subversive interpretation of three parts of Handel’s Messiah. Finally RTOOT engaged and confronted the audience in a series of holiday carols in which the audience singalong sounded like bullhorns directing RTOOT to stand down.
The Chapel Hill Police Department was unavailable for comment. No one was arrested.