I played a concert this week and noticed that my page-turner, sitting beside me at the piano, was holding what looked like a generous square of fudge in her left hand. As a fudge fan myself, I didn’t find it hard to imagine why one would wish to have a square of fudge on stage, but she seemed to be holding it with unusual care. Eventually I allowed myself to ask what it was.
‘It’s a square of wet sponge’, she explained. Not cake sponge, you understand, but the kind of sponge you clean the kitchen with. ‘ I got the idea from watching bank staff counting out notes. They use a pad of something wet to moisten their fingertips so they can easily leaf through notes without getting two at once. I hold the sponge like this, moisten the fingertips of my right hand on it, and then lean forward and turn the page. It helps me not to distract the pianist by fumbling with the pages right in front of their line of vision.’ What a brilliant idea! And it worked like a charm.