It's easy for all musicians to end the year and wonder what will come next. What will my next concert sound like, who will be in my ensembles and will PASIC 18 live up to the awesomeness that was PASIC 17? Before I furiously start planning out the events of 2018, I want to reflect on 2017 to understand that some of the coolest things to happen were not planned at all.
Sure enough, I ran into Matt in the bathroom just before his clinic and had a not-as-awkward-as-you'd-think-that'd-be, oh-yeah-I-remember-you "Hey!" The clinic went off perfectly and I hope to see him again in the future.
February, I was in full swing back at my elementary school, but got a great tip to use Shel Silverstein poems as topics for children's songs. I chose "Magic Eraser" which is a parable about if you had a magic pencil to draw whatever you wanted, you would also have an eraser, which could lead to you erasing things you wish you hadn't. I polled classes of 5 to 10 year-olds about what they'd erase and sure enough, "school" and "teachers" were pretty popular. The song was also our first use of my Donor's Choose ukuleles and was a hit as the finale to our Spring concert.
April was a big month for Jumbie pans! My elementary school has a dedicated Jumbie pan ensemble that is solely meant to prepare for performances other than our semester concerts. We only had our drums for 2 months but we were able to scrap together 4 of my tunes for public performances. We played in a local taco shop for the students' families, boasting enough business that they had to call more staff to handle the crowd. Later that month, the neighboring high school hosted a culture fair and we got to represent Trinidad and Tobago while performing in their gym. To end the month out, we played at the Las Vegas Day of Percussion, becoming the first elementary school to do so!
The Las Vegas concert combined 2 elementary schools, a high school and the College of Southern Nevada. We played a mixture of Thornton, Narell and my own tunes to one of the biggest audiences the college has ever pulled. Tracy taught the combined band a tune by rote hours before the concert and of course it was a crowd favorite.
In June, a steel pan group on Facebook had a post calling for new steel band charts for a possible PASIC concert. I emailed in 5 of my charts and crossed my fingers.
July was a month of travel as I hit Chicago, Cincinnati and Lexington. My first ever pan duo partner invited me to be the musical entertainment during cocktail hour at his wedding, which was followed just a week later by seeing Jimmy Buffett at Riverbend in Cincinnati and then Lexington to see old friends.