About Me

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Atlanta, GA, United States
When I suffered a lip injury that ended my career as a classical trombonist, I thought my life as a musician was finished, but I fell in love with music all over again when Santa gave me a guitar for Christmas in 2003. Even as I was struggling with my first chords, I was planning a new performance career. As a trombonist, I performed with the Heritage of America Band at Langley Air Force Base, the Ohio Light Opera, and in pick-up bands for touring acts that included Rosemary Clooney, George Burns, and the Manhattan Transfer. Reborn as a jazz guitarist, I sing and play my own solo arrangements of jazz classics, am half of the Godfrey and Guy duo, and hold the guitar chair in the Sentimental Journey Orchestra. I have been a freelance music copyist since 1995 and have been music director at Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation since 2011.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Change of Pace

This weekend offered a nice change of pace. I normally perform jazz standards, but this weekend was quite different. Last night, I played around a campfire, and this morning I led a music service at my church.

Most beautiful gig site ever.
Last night, a friend from church hosted a small gathering at his home, offering dinner outside, followed by songs and stories around a fire pit. I didn't expect the setting to be so gorgeous. He and his wife own a large piece of property, and the "back yard" is essentially a large natural sanctuary. I led a variety of songs, mostly of the folk variety. When I first started playing guitar, I planned on being a folk musician, so it was a lot of fun to sing these songs. The song list included City of New Orleans, Me and Bobby McGee, some Bob Dylan songs, etc. My mom used to sing these songs professionally, and the music brought back a lot of good memories. On top of all that, the weather was gorgeous. Spring had finally sprung a day or two before, and we enjoyed pleasant evening under the sky.

This morning, I led a music service with the help of my choir and handful of musicians from the congregation. It was very well received, and it was a lot of fun for me. I had a chance to sing a lot of songs that have touched me through the years, and these songs seemed to resonate with a lot of the folks in the congregation. A partial song list includes Burgundy Heart Shaped Medallion (David Wilcox), Why Is Your Heaven So Small (Susan Werner), Holy Now (Peter Mayer), and Guitar Shopping (David Wilcox).

After the service, someone told me that she wished we could do this every Sunday. While this was flattering, the truth is that I wouldn't have enough energy to do this every Sunday unless it were my full time job! While music services are fun, I think the novelty would soon wear off. One reason music services are cathartic is because they are infrequent. As one of my friends pointed out when I was having trouble narrowing down song choices…"Always leave them wanting more." This is true for the service itself, and it's true for music services in general.

Next weekend, I'm back to performing jazz standards. I have a private gig with Godfrey and Guy on Friday, and I'll be playing with The Standard Quartet on Saturday and Sunday. I probably won't be singing any more folk songs for a while, and it'll be a while until my next music service, but this weekend was refreshingly different.

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