On New Years Eve I’ve always been one to look ahead instead of back but this year I feel the need to look back as well. Despite the stress that national and international politics have caused our country over the past 12 months, this year has been a very exciting year for me musically and personally.
I’ve had more performances this year than ever before. Eighty-six to be exact, most of which within a few miles of my home. Some of the locations sound like a Dr. Seuss book:
I’ve played my guitar at shopping malls and concert halls, art museums and basketball arenas, in grocery stores and behind closed doors, on the college green and the restaurant scene…
You get the idea.
Some of this years most special moments include:
Accompanying the Athens High School Symphonic Choir and senior soloists on arrangements of “Dust in the Wind” and “Ring of Fire.”
Joining Ohio University faculty on a concert with guest artist Nadje Noordhuis, a New York-based jazz trumpet player and member of Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society.
Letting loose on a totally tubular (and LOUD) version of Dick Dale’s “Miserlou” in front of about 2,000 elementary school children at Hallowpalooza X with my student jazz combo.
Providing music for the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine’s Body Donation Memorial Service. This moving event honors those who have donated their remains to the school of medicine and allows a chance to family members and students to reflect and mingle.
Joining the Ohio University Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Luke Frazier for “Broadway for the Holidays” featuring guest artists Hilary Morrow (Birdland Jazz Club), Mary Michael Patterson (Phantom of the Opera), Claybourne Elder (Sunday in the Park with George), and Luke Hawkins (America’s Got Talent.)
Of course, I also gave guitar lessons numbering into the thousands, taught classes, coached student ensembles, and organized student performances and recitals.
In between it all I manage to keep practicing as much as I can. While it didn’t happen only in this year, I have been making huge strides with my own concepts of musicality and execution. I didn’t expect this to happen so late in the game, but I honestly haven’t felt this excited about learning since about 1986.
I also did a little travelling with Melanie this year and while our travels weren’t primarily about music, we did get to tour the Paul Reed Smith guitar factory while in Maryland. Then on a trip to NYC we heard some amazing music including: Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra with guests Hamilton de Holanda and Baqir Abbas, the musical “Waitress” featuring Sara Bareilles, and guitarist Dida Pelled at the legendary Bar Next Door in Greenwich Village. All wonderful experiences.
We also ate cheese.
I hope your year was a great one and that we can make 2018 a year to remember, too!