Only because Wes is a friend and a fellow member of the music fraternity Phi Mu Alpha will I indulge his tag to write about eight random personal facts and/or habits:
1) As I said in my lede, I am a member of a fraternity, even though I hate the Greek system at most colleges. Phi Mu Alpha is more of a professional organization, although, because they have switched back to a male-only membership, I am less enthusiastic about their mission.
2) Many years ago I was quoted in a Wall Street Journal article celebrating the retirement of Dr. Harry Langsford, one of my mentors and a conducting legend at Wayne State University in Detroit. Unfortunately for me, the quote caught me criticizing the Wayne State music department - saying something to the effect of "Dr. Langsford is the only reason I came to Wayne State. I am thinking about transferring to the University of Michigan."
My 18-year-old big mouth was the reason, among others, that I felt it necessary to walk away from a full scholarship at Wayne State. I had not even filled out the Michigan application at the time of the article's publication, and it was already February!
Thank God I nailed the admission audition. And Dr. Langsford wrote a glowing recommendation directly to one of his former students, George Shirley
, which probably didn't hurt.
And I might add, that attending Michigan, regardless of reason, might have been one of the best things to happen to me. Go Blue!
3) I was a very good sprinter in high school until I ruptured the ACL in my right knee playing pick-up football in the snow.
4) As a kid I used to race BMX bikes and still have several trophies that my son now likes to take apart and reassemble in various different forms.
5) My first date with my, then-future wife was watching Schindler's List at the Mall of America
Cinema. There is a metaphor in there somewhere, but I am hesitant to even think about it.
6) I once played in a rock band with the son of the owner of the Detroit Pistons. His home, and our practice space, had original signed Matisse cut-outs, a series of Chagall oil paintings and tiles hand-painted by Monet. Surreal does not even begin to describe this whole chapter of my career. Isiah Thomas was a regular audience member to our private jam sessions. The son
is still recording and playing gigs as a relatively successful folk singer, but he likes to avoid much mention of his privileged upbringing by touring in a beat up old van. His then and still current guitar/cello player, Jason Charboneau was one of the best friends I ever had and is also a brother in Phi Mu Alpha. Small world.....
7) One evening in 1999 I fed three of the ten richest people in the world, Bill Gates, Paul Allen and Steve Ballmer at three separate tables in the same restaurant.
8) An ex-girlfriend from my late teen years was not only the niece of a trombone God, Frank Rosolino
, her cubicle-mate at an accounting firm was the sister of Levi Stubbs
. (aka the voice of Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors.)
-- And here is where I break the rules. I will only tag those who volunteer to be tagged. Bueller... Bueller.... Ferris... Bueller.....