Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Dream Come True, part 2

ever since the ripe-old age of 10,
at which point I began pestering my parents
to allow me to join the junior high school band,
somewhere in the murky back corridors of my mind
was the dream that someday I might be part of an orchestra.

several years before The Beatles and the so-called
British Invasion completely altered the course of my life
my hero figure was the band director of the
The Ludlow Junior High School Band in Ludlow, Kentucky.
my intent was to grow up to be him, the band director,
someone who understood each instrument, could teach others
how to play the myriad of instruments in an orchestra
and how to read the vast rich heritage of written music
left to all of us by the great and small composers of history.
someone who could lead the entire band in concert.
that was my vague thought of what manhood might bring.

all of that changed when two things happened:
1) my parents moved to a different town where I was no longer
able to hang out with the intimately bonded bandmates I loved,
in particular my best friend and french horn player Kenny Nevels,
and no longer to have that camaraderie as my essential self-image
and 2) The Beatles played on the Ed Sullivan Show, an event which
seems to have ruined, er, changed the lives of many musical youth.
I joined my first teen band The Denems which became the new
focus of my world and off we went "plummeting to stardom".

still, the orchestral dream never really went away.

many years later I was still eking out a living in the Holiday Inn
circuit where my nights were spent drumming in the lounge
entertaining the business travelers, and my days were
spent honing my songwriting skills, seeing movies,
reading books, and listening to records.

a day I remember well was the day I took a ride
alone in my van through a lovely wooded park.
the park was the Johnny Appleseed National Park
in Leominster, Massachusetts.
we were playing at the Leominster Holiday Inn
five hours a night, six days a week, for one entire month.
I often took long rides in the daytime; Leominster is a beautiful area
and has many parks and forests.

so, I was riding along admiring the scenery when I began
to daydream a piece of music being played by an orchestra.
the daydream lasted for several engrossing minutes.
I could clearly hear the piece of music as though it were a
recording, the orchestra sounded fierce and dynamic.
the strange thing was I pictured myself at the front
of the orchestra playing electric guitar!

an orchestra with an electric guitarist as guest is perhaps
commonplace these days with Metallica, Jeff Beck, et al
but at that time it was unheard of, at least to my knowledge.
it made my daydream was so powerful I've never forgotten
the affect it had on me, more than 30 years later.
(I only wish I could remember the piece of music).

fast forward to now and you can imagine my surprise
and excitement when out of the blue one day I received a call
from a dutch man named Gert-Jan Blom (pronounced
something like Kurt Yawn) who said he was in charge of
the programs presented each year by a European orchestra.
he went on to say he had read a sentence in one of my
interviews in which I said my latest record e
was written with an orchestra in mind and that his orchestra,
the Metropole Orchestra in Amsterdam Holland would
actually like to do the piece as part of their 2011 season!
Gert-Jan said in Holland this type of event is often
paid for partly by the dutch government and partly
by an interested broadcasting company.

you could have knocked me over with a bulldozer.