Saturday, October 30, 2010

Dad and Son in Concert (Pt.1)

Well, in another stroke of good fortune, it has happened again! While 2009 presented the first-ever opportunity for me to perform with all three of my children in public, 2010 allowed for a smaller version of a repeat performance, as I was able to perform with one of my children.

At the concert, on a perfect evening to be outside and after I had played several tunes, some jazz classics and some original smooth jazz originals, I was about to call my youngest son (16-years-old) to the stage to sit down and play the drum set that was behind me. (Similar to last year, the organizers of the concert series had asked the performers to spotlight some youth on their program).

At any rate, I began to slightly panic, as I could not find him in the audience. While trying to remain calm, I turned around to look at the drum set and …. there he was, seated at the tubs and ready to go ….. the natural ham in him was shining through!

With our practice time behind us, it was time to show the audience our “stuff”. After I played through the melody and took a solo on the vibes, I stepped off of the stage to give him the full spotlight and the whole attention of the audience. He took full advantage of the opportunity, as he launched into a massive drum solo that allowed for him to show off his technique and musical ideas.

While the crowd offered polite and somewhat enthusiastic applause for me after each one of my solos, they went crazy for him!!!!! Loud and bombastic appreciation for my son’s efforts were offered and they were well deserved, as my son has diligently worked over the past several years to become a topflight percussionist.

To digress for a moment, when I was his age, my high school band director sold the school’s drum set and ordered a new one. For about five weeks before the new set arrived, the only “drum set” on which I had to play at school involved just a bass drum, snare, one cymbal, and a hi-hat.

One school day, a professional drummer visited our class to hear me play. I told him that my efforts might not be all that terrific, as I was shortchanged on the current drum set. He told me something that day that I have never forgotten. He said, (paraphrased), “Anybody can play a drum set if they have a million drums and cymbals, as they can rely on the instrument to carry them through if they do not have talent or musical ideas. However, a drummer with a limited drum set has to be really good to shine through. So, Paul, if you can sound good today on this little drum set, then I know that you are a good drummer.”

Well, I must have sounded O.K., because he later hired me to be his own drummer in the college band that he directed! So, what did my son do ........?

(Please come back next week for the conclusion)

Paul W. Reeves

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