Double barrel or double reed? A concerned citizen called 911 after mistaking a bassoon for a gun in Springfield, Ohio, the Springfield News-Sun reported. The 22-year-old bassoonist, Eric Barga, had arrived early to an evening rehearsal at Covenant Presbyterian Church after teaching students at his former high school. But shortly after Barga arrived and started playing scales, a 911 call was made about a white male in a jacket and jeans sitting on the back of his car outside the church, holding what looked like a long rifle.
Shortly after that two units arrived on the scene. “They didn’t immediately approach me,” Barga told Springfield News-Sun. “I saw a police car, it’s a big police van, roll up really slowly.”
The second unit approached from behind. “At this point, I realise they’re confronting me,” he said. “I put on a little dopey smile and said, ‘Did somebody call the cops on me?’”
Barga wondered if the police – who were wearing protective vests – were there because he had violated a noise ordinance.
“I didn’t really feel threatened,” he said. “I don’t get nervous. Years of music school (performance) beats that out of you.”
According to Barga, the police officers were all giggling by the time they reached him, however, and one asked the musician, “is that a bassoon or an oboe?”
The 911 caller doesn’t seem to have been 100% sure the instrument was a weapon, though, as there was a note on the dispatch form reading “Unknown of[sic] it was for sure.”
That his instrument might be confused with a rifle hadn’t even occurred to Barga. “In the right kind of light, it looks like a bazooka,” he said, “but I don’t think it was the right kind of light.”