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, served as Director of Music at Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation from 2011 to 2017, and currently serve as Contemporary Band Director at the same congregation.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Children's Choir

Today was a long day, but it was a good one. I led the church choir in the morning, led a children's choir rehearsal in the early afternoon, and then played a gig in the afternoon. It was all good. The adult choir did a good job, and the gig went well, but the highlight of my day was the children's choir.

Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation has been wanting a children's choir for a few years. I believe one of my predecessors, Sarah Dan Jones, started working with the children when she was music director. I don't recall if my immediate predecessor, Kathy Kelly George, led a children's choir or not. I do know that Kathy is excellent at working with children's choirs, and I had the privilege of observing one of her rehearsals a few months ago.

This is the first time Northwest UUC has had a children's choir for a long time. Today was their first rehearsal, and it was my first experience leading a children's choir. I had a blast! I expected maybe five children to show up this first time, so I was pleasantly surprised when we had about a dozen. After a quick warm-up, I taught them two easy songs. For the most part, the kids stayed on pitch, and they picked up on the words fairly quickly. Aside from teaching the music, my main focus was in getting them to sing out. We could see the parking lot from the window. To help them project, I told them to pretend they were singing to someone outside.

Some of today's highlights:

  • A few of the children were wearing their Halloween costumes, which reminded me that last year at this time, I was having the kids help me write a song. That was a striking coincidence.
  • When I led them through a breathing exercise, one of the girls raised her hand and told me that her choir teacher does the same thing. I took this as a sign that I wasn't completely clueless.
  • After the rehearsal, one little boy came up to me with the lead sheet I had handed out and asked if he could use it to make a paper airplane.
  • At the beginning of the rehearsal, one boy told me that he didn't want to sing. I told him that this was fine, but if he wasn't going to sing, he needed to be quiet during rehearsal. He stayed way in the back, and soon I noticed that he was singing along with everyone else. At the end of the rehearsal, he declared that he would like to sing after all.
This was such a rewarding experience for me, and I hope that this will be a fun and rewarding experience for the children. I'm so very glad I started this. I'm looking forward to working with these kids and getting to know them, and I can't wait to showcase them in a music service. My favorite part of being a school band director was working with beginners. It appears that this love for teaching beginners extends to singers, too.

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