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Playing My Drums

Playing My Drums The weather on this day is near perfect. Almost springlike. Warm rays of sunlight along with blue skies and a few puffy white clouds. The crowd is still gathering. A few thousand, soon to be many more. The event is outdoors. A huge fundraiser to benefit young people and adults with various disabilities. I tap the touchscreen of my iPhone. The metronome app is programmed with the sequential order of today’s tunes. The click sounds the tempo of the first song on the set list, directed through my headphone amp and into my In-Ear-Monitors. I look around from the drum riser, toward my band mates. I get the “nod”, that they’re ready to start the song. With the high-pitched sound of hickory hitting against itself, I slap my sticks together at the assigned tempo, and count out loud, “1-2, 1-2-3-4”!

And at that moment, the “magic” begins. A feeling I find a little difficult to explain, engulfs my whole being. From way down in my soul, I feel the pulse of the rhythm, headed down my right leg. Straight to the bass drum pedal attached to my ‘kick drum’. My right hand shoots toward the hi-hat cymbals, with notes dancing from the nylon tip of my stick.

My left hand guides the other drumstick downward, toward the snare drum, squarely landing the “back-beat” into the Evans batter head, of my bronze Ludwig beauty. My left foot motivates the hi-hat stand pedal, opening and closing the cymbals in syncopation.

As the music engulfs the space around me, an almost other-worldly sense of euphoria takes over my being.

Wow ! What a blessing !

At that moment, I cannot help myself. A smile begins to radiate from my face. Me, just an average drummer. Being allowed to participate in the process of taking notes and lyrics, penned and painstakingly written by some musician, somewhere, at some other place, and point in time. And bringing that song to life again ! Through the monitors, I hear the blending of the various instruments.

I look over to the keyboardist, as his fingers glide across the ivories, with that unique sound of the felt-cushioned hammers striking the strings, vibrating, emanating those unmistakable frequencies.

The bass player nods his head to the down beat of my kick drum, as his fingers pick out the bottom notes of the rhythm section. The guitarists are strumming and picking the strings of their respective instruments. The individual tones of the Gretsch, Fender, and Godin works of art are now flowing forth into the space surrounding all of us musicians. The multi-instrumentalist to my right, slides the chrome plated bar across the multiple strings of the pedal-steel guitar. The blending of the assortment of strings fill their respective place in the musical spectrum. My smile grows wider. Then, as the song intro is completed, the vocals begin. The excitement of the whole experience is taken to a new level. I briefly think of the hours, days, yes, years of practice and experience, that have gotten this particular group of people together, on this particular stage, performing this particular song, at this pinpointed speck on the timeline of our collective lives. I look out from the stage, to the audience. The sounds of the music have almost instantaneously reached the ears of the listeners. Heads begin to move from side to side, feet tap in sync with the beat. Faces light up with that joyful expression. And again, in those moments, I realize what a wonderful gift has been shared with me. Just to be sitting on this drum throne, and being a part of all this ! Yes, I am truly blessed.


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