Monday, February 18, 2013

Proud and Happy Day

I've been back in Colorado for the weekend because my younger son, Gregory, had his junior recital as a jazz saxophonist in the College of Music at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He and his classmate/friend Adam Gang shared an hour of original compositions by each of them plus arrangements of several jazz classics. So of course I flew back from Indiana to be there for this shining hour and to celebrate his accomplishment with him and the rest of our family.

I remember the day he fell in love with the saxophone, when my husband took both of our boys, who were then in third grade and sixth grade, to the end-of-year jazz band concert at Fairview High School. That was it for Gregory. He wanted to play the saxophone. I rented him an instrument and found him a teacher and went with him to his first lesson. His teacher was a great one for pithy wisdom. I asked him how much he'd like for Gregory to practice each day. Dave shrugged. "He can practice however much he wants. But the one who practices the most wins." And he warned Gregory that it might not sound terrific at first: "If it were easy, everyone would be doing it."

Gregory practiced. He was the one who did it, even when it wasn't easy. He started writing his own compositions. He played in band at school, and in our church jazz band JO3:16. He became an active participant in the fabulous Colorado Conservatory for the Jazz Arts (CCJA), which draws motivated middle school and high school students from all over the Denver Metro area to play together under the mentorship of jazz professors from University of Denver and University of Colorado. I don't know how many times I drove him down to Denver for CCJA sessions, and for concerts at the jazz club Dazzle, and elsewhere.

And on Sunday afternoon he stood on the stage in the small chamber music hall at CU and played his junior recital, as I sat listening with tears in my eyes.

I don't know if Gregory will end up pursuing a career as a professional musician. In addition to the Bachelor of Music degree he's pursuing in the College of Music, he's also pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science in the College of Engineering.  But, hey, I've had a great life working in two careers, as both a philosophy professor and a children's book author.

All I know is that Sunday was a proud and happy day.

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