Oberlin College is just ten miles from my house and they offer some fantastic free experimental courses. They are open to everyone and I’ve taken my share; everything from bicycle repair to a course on Frank Zappa. This year the wife and daughter are taking a bunch.
The wife signed up for a pottery class, a jewelry making class and a steel (pan) drum class. Most of these classes fill up fast and to make it fair they use a lottery system. The wife expected to get one or two but surprisingly got into all three.
I used to sing in a Chorale Spectrum, a fantastic community choir, until my work schedule prohibited it. One of the best things about the choir was how they would bring it outside players (harpists, classical guitarists, etc.) to play with us. One year Oberlin Steel was brought in. The sound was incredible and it was exciting to watch them play. My wife told me afterwards that she wanted to learn the steel drum. Now the opportunity had arrived.
The main problem is my wife didn’t know how to read music so she had to learn how to read music and then where the notes are on the drum.
It was incredibly frustrating for her. Here she was around a bunch of young music majors at an ivy league college. To be honest, I thought she would drop out of the class.
Luckily friends came through, especially my friend Susan. Being a pianist she would record the music and email it to the wife. Being able to hear the music made things a lot easier.
The day of the concert came and the performance was to be held at The Cat in the Cream Coffeehouse in Oberlin. The theme was SuperPan so many of the students wore superhero costumes and the wife made her own. I got there just in time to watch the kids setting up all of the drums. It was quite a site seeing superheros assembling steel drums.
The wife announced the song Dock on the Bay and played right out front. She did great. I’m so impressed with her for sticking it out. Here is an edited version of the show, just Dock of the Bay.
The video isn’t that great as I recorded it with my Ipod Touch. But the sound isn’t bad.
Here is the full show running at about twenty minutes.
After the show we went to The Feve and mistakenly ordered garlic fries instead of their stinky fries. The garlic was so bad that it burned, but I was too tired and happy to worry about it. Fantastic night with friends and some great music. I hope she continues with this. She will find that it gets easier and the more you know the more you are able to know.