Growing up I lived in my older sister’s shadow. She was 4 years older than me and she was my mother’s favorite. She could do no wrong and I could do no right. Anything she wanted to do or try my mother always made sure she had the chance to do it. If she failed at any attempt she made then I was automatically barred from trying the same thing. This is how it was when it came to music.
I always loved music as a kid. All styles, it didn’t matter. When my sister was in 4th grade she decided she wanted to learn to play the violin. So my mother went to the local music shop and to my Dads’ dismay, she purchased a new one for her. She started orchestra at school and I think it lasted about 3 months, only because my Dad insisted she really tried. But she didn’t. She thought she could just play it without reading music or practicing and when she discovered you had to work at it, she quit. I don’t know what happened to the violin because I never saw it again and this episode in her life was never spoken of again.
Fast forward 3 years. I was going to start 4th grade and over the summer break, I had decided I wanted to play an instrument. My mother absolutely refused. If my sister couldn’t, then I couldn’t. I begged my Dad for a chance and he stood up to my mother, his decision was made, I could join the band! Things kind of went sideways though when I told them I wanted to play the drums. NO! was the answer I got. My Dad said no daughter of mine will ever sit with her legs around a drum. Back in those days, girls had to wear dresses or skirts to school! No pants or shorts allowed, not even under the dress. So, I said I would choose another instrument. A friend that had moved to Arizona when my parents did lived a few houses down from us. The man, whose name was “Fuzz” played the clarinet. I had listened to him play it on many occasions so I suggested that maybe I too could play it. My parents took me to the music store and my Dad rented me a clarinet. I was so excited. Fuzz came over that night and showed me how to properly put it together and how to “wet the reed”, and he showed me how to blow in it correctly. Apparently, I did very well as he began explaining the musical notes and showing me the fingering for them. I loved it.
By the time I started band class I already knew how to play 3 songs. From day one until we moved away when I was in 6th grade, I was 1st chair, 1st clarinet. Although I loved playing the clarinet, in the back of my head I couldn’t stop thinking of playing the drums. I would watch the boys drumming cadences and I would go home and practice them on an empty oatmeal container using two pencils. I would dream of playing drums in a music group, but I knew that would never happen. I stopped playing the clarinet in high school and I moved on to other pursuits.
Again, fast forward, this time about 13 years. I was married with 3 children living in Tucson, AZ. I had been active in our church for about 11 years, helping wherever they needed me. I had married a man who was a phenomenal drummer. He could hear a song one time and then he could play it even better than the original without any practice. He played in one of the music groups at church and he filled in for other drummers in other bands. The bonus of this was I now had a drum set at home. He never knew I would practice playing them when he was at work.
My best friend asked me if I wanted to help her start an all-girls music group and I jumped at the idea! She was a wonderful vocalist. We went about finding 3 more girls, one played keyboard and the other two could sing like angels! We searched for a female guitar player but we couldn’t find one. So we set about practicing once a week, learning a few songs in hopes that the pastor would let us play at our weekly Saturday Night Coffee House at church. We did end up adding two guys to the band, a bass player, and a lead guitarist and we really got pretty good. The music leader came to church one night to hear us play and he loved it. We got scheduled to play at the Coffee House two weeks later. It didn’t hit me till that day that I hadn’t performed in front of an audience in over 13 years and I was petrified. Thankfully, there were only about 200 people there that night and we were well received. So much so that the pastor asked us to play 3 songs for the upcoming Bible Conference, and he was bumping another well know group for us! This was great, except the conference started the next afternoon in the Tucson Convention Center in downtown. We practiced all afternoon and when we got up on stage to play, I looked out and there were about 3000 people there! It was an international conference and this was the largest ever. I panicked. When we played I sped the songs up. The singers struggled to keep up. I think subconsciously I just wanted to get off the stage! We got a standing ovation in spite of my goof.
Over the next couple of years, we were regulars at the Coffeehouse and we played all over Arizona at other associated churches. I loved it. It came to an end when my husband committed suicide and I left that church (another story for another day). After I married my husband of 34 years we played on worship teams at various churches. He can play any instrument, except drums! I never thought my dreams of being a girl drummer would come true!
I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.