It's hard to believe the 2018-19 school year has passed. Although I can't call this a favorite year of mine, I am VERY proud of the results! Taking the 2nd grade classes to sing the National Anthem at the Wichita Thunder was an amazing experience, and one which I hope will be repeated next year. I'm also proud of the music program performances at the high school. This was a change that I wanted to incorporate to get me out of my comfort zone, and provide a fresh experience for the kids. It wasn't easy, but the kids did a fantastic job singing. I thank their respective teachers and paras for all their help in rehearsals and performances. I couldn't have done this without them.
Conducting the National Anthem before the Wichita Thunder game (3/27/19)
One of the continuing surprises of 2019 is my (somewhat) returning to playing in 90 Proof Project. When I left the band, I was a man suffering endless anxiety. My Dad was near the end of his life, and I wanted to be emotionally and physically present during my wife's pregnancy, and the birth of our amazing daughter. I was also burnt out. When you're as successful as we were, the gigs increase, and the pressure increases with it. The time away from home emotionally and physically is too much for some...definitely for me since I have a family. Just to clarify (as I still get questions about this); I haven't technically rejoined 90P. I'm simply playing the gigs that their current drummer can't play due to prior commitments. One of those gigs is tomorrow night at YaYa's Eurobistro...so long as it doesn't rain, which is impossible to predict with this intense weather!!
I have greatly enjoyed the two gigs I have already played with the band this year, and I've even enjoyed the two rehearsals we've done together. You can't hide how you're feeling when you're in a band rehearsal. If you've had a great day, it will be noticeable. If you've had a bad day, it will be likely more noticeable. I feel that we've all matured since "the good ol' days," and I'm surprised at how easy and comfortable it all feels. Who knows where it goes from here, but I've enjoyed this ride so far.
90 Proof hard at work at Vorshay's (4/27/19)
And now, for something a little different. For a long time, I've been wanting to improve my rusty marimba chops. I haven't touched the instrument (apart from a handful of "noodles") since my undergrad senior recital back in 2003! For the longest time, I've also wanted to dive into the electronic side of marimba playing. With the continuing improvements in electronic percussion (e.g., sampling, instrument emulations, ease of programming, portability, etc.), I'm surprised electronic keyboard percussion doesn't get the attention it deserves. Maybe it's to do with the price of the instrument, or the popularity of "drum pads." All the same, I saved up and bought a MalletKAT Pro Express back in March.
This MalletKAT is strictly a MIDI controller (i.e., no internal sounds). This means I have the freedom to MIDI it to any instrument I'd like, including my MacBook Pro. This is perfect for improving my chops, composing, and playing around with different sounds and combinations. I'm quite certain I will integrate this instrument into live performances in the near future. I even have plans to slowly integrate this into my percussion lessons. More on that another time...
If you're in Wichita, I hope to see you at YaYa's on Saturday...and I really hope it doesn't rain!!