Obviously, the start of a new year, but also the concluding of another decade.
The “roaring twenties” …
2020 also marks 5 years since our family trip to London, UK.
It was cool and we went on several day trips with our adult children.
Many photographs in this post are from that winter vacation.
We love them and are so proud of each of our children.
They have not only grown into adults to emulate, but each one is a truly brilliant person who contributes greatly to society.
And, most importantly, they are good resilient souls.
They don’t quit or give up.
OUR NEXT DECADE TOGETHER
2020 also marks the year we will turn 65.
We actually don’t know what turning 65 is supposed to feel like yet because this year is our first time doing it.
But we collectively know we’re blessed with good health, the love of our family + dear friends, we still have our chops, and still play our instruments at a professional-level – so we are very thankful.
Every year since we have been together, we have had a “winter vacation break project.”You know this type project. Yours probably could even be one like our office bookshelf and office storage space morphed into. It’s something that you plan to get around to doing, but never do during the course of the year because you can find what you need in the immediate and are able to get done what you need to get done despite there being no organized system in place to facilitate efficiency and accountability.
BUT . . . WE TRULY ARE ORGANIZED PEOPLE . . . REALLY WE ARE . . .
“The greatest sign of success for a teacher . . . is to be able to say, ‘The children are now working as if I did not exist’ . . .”
– Maria Montessori
Nonetheless, it never fails that we find a better system or more logical process to use somewhere in our day-to-day living that helps out tremendously.
And it seems that during the course of simply living, while continuing to learn and grow, we will periodically find that old systems and methods are no longer functionally useful.
THE LIBRARY OF A COUPLE OF ACTIVE PROFESSIONAL WOODWIND MUSICIANS
“The principle goal of education is to create men and women who are capable of doing new things, not simply repeating what other generations have done.”
– Jean Piaget
We use everything in our office bookshelf space as part of our business activities, woodwind studio teaching practices, and individual studies as professional musicians.
So, in our experiences, such resets are usually a good thing.
SOME HISTORIC ITEMS + JAMES R. FUCHS AND CHARLIE MOLINA
“It isn’t where you came from, it’s where you’re going that counts.”
– Ella Fitzgerald
I started playing a band instrument in the 9th grade, which is still late by most standards. In addition to the cursory learning to play some rudimentary form of the recorder, I studied the violin in the 4th grade growing up in Paola, Kansas. Yes, Paola, Kansas. However, I participated in private music programs at our church and had pretty good general music classes during grade school and junior high.
“Tell me, and I forget. Show me, and I remember. Involve me, and I understand.”
– Chinese proverb
Mr. Jim Fuchs taught me clarinet and saxophone. I played clarinet initially and then essentially played the saxophone from the 10th grade onward. Paola had its own music store in town back then too. That’s how I first met Charlie Molina, who was one of the owners and a Conn Clinician. I auditioned and successfully passed auditions to qualify for the military music programs of both, the Army and Air Force. I chose the Army.
“I’m still learning.”
*The main photograph of this post is from our family trip to England during Christmas time – exactly 5 years ago on this date. All other photographs are during the work.
The main photographs in this post are various shots of the Jay McShann tribute big band with a really great saxophone section that included (left to right): Gerald Dunn, Christopher Burnett (yes, with the large Afro hairstyle), Dennis Winslett, Bobby Watson, Ahmed Alaadeen and Kerry Strayer (not shown).
I had actually met the great Jay McShannand interacted with him several times. This tribute event was held in early 2007 at the historic Gem Theater in the jazz district of Kansas City. Alaadeen, who first introduced me to Jay, invited me to play in this tribute – but, I don’t think he was formerly authorized to do so because the cats initially acted somewhat surprised to see me there with my horn. Even though nobody said anything to me, I figured it out when there were three alto players during the first set. Awkward. Normally I would have left under such circumstances and not even played but I listened to my inner voice and stayed. And since I had actually met Jay and interacted with him several times enough to have gotten to know him somewhat, I wanted to simply add my musical voice to this tribute. It turned out to be a very nice event honoring a true master of jazz and blues .Jay McShann was also the first professional bandleader to hire Charlie Parker.
We played two sets. Bobby had to leave after the first and let me play lead the next set. All of the players were pretty nice to me since I could play the parts and was there unawares and sincerely by invitation of a KC jazz master. This was my introduction to the realities of life in the music outside of military bands. Sometimes you just have to make a place for yourself in life and the music industry because others won’t do it for you. What a great opportunity and honor this was.Those are the types of substantive lessons I learned from the late Ahmed Alaadeen along with the technical aspects of music we studied. He was my last great teacher.
I’m still going strong and have artistically established myself teaching music in addition to performing and composing. I began my career by serving 22-years with the professional military bands system. And 2018 marked another career milestone of being professionally active on the at-large music industry scene for 22-years after military service. That’s pretty cool. 2019 marks entry into new territory of sorts… As my late brother who was truly a world class musician once told me:
We own our own drum set and I practice playing basic drum set techniques so as to teach concepts during my master classes and clinics if a student is new to playing basic patterns. The only thing I have from my late brother Richie is his “stick bag.”