Sunday, November 7, 2010

My Opportunities

A few months ago, I went to a church picnic. I was still trying to find the right church for me and was checking out different churches around town. Another Sunday rolled around and I went to this new church. New to me anyways, they happened to be celebrating their 128th anniversary that day. I heard there was free food at the celebration and I NEVER pass up free food so away I go to join in the party. They have this little information booth where you can enter a free raffle for a iPod or something (it seems like all raffles these days are for iPods). I start talking to the guy running the raffle and tell him I'm new to the area and am interested in joining this church. I ask him what kind of programs they have here and he directs me to Maggie, the choir director. I hadn't told the raffle guy that I was a musician, but this is the person he introduces me to. She asks me if I'm musical. I say, "Well yes, I'm a percussionist." At this point she starts screaming and hugging me and jumping up and down in circles. (Not exactly the reaction I was expecting.) It turns out the church owns a pair of timpani and they've been looking for a timpanist for almost two years. In that instant, I became a member of the church, a member of the choir, and their own personal timpanist.
So I bust out my practice pad and start going to choir rehearsals. During my second or third rehearsal, a fellow alto tells me that our pianist is a composer. But not just any composer, he was absent from rehearsal that night because he was rehearsing his new musical at one of Denver's most prominent performing arts theaters. So I build up some courage and catch him after one of our rehearsals. I start with, "I hear you're a composer." "Yeah." . . . Ok, now what? I'm totally fumbling the ball here. Just pick it up and run! "Uh, I kinda compose too sometimes..." Eventually I'm able to spit out that I would like him to look at my score and give me feedback. Of course he's a swell guy and is not nearly as nervous as I am and is happy to look at it.
Tonight I went to my favorite park to finish one of my favorite books: The Complete Guide to Film Scoring by Fred Davis. I read about three pages and suddenly, mixed in with the other joggers and dog walkers, there's this guy sitting on a park bench playing the congas. I start wondering if I should go talk to him. I mean, obviously he has his own congas so he's probably connected to some other musicians. Maybe he could be a connection. But seriously? You want to walk up to a stranger on a park bench and just strike up a conversation with him? Yeah, not really. But I decide that if he's still there by the time I finish my book, then I'll go talk to him. This was a favorable agreement. I had thirty pages left to my book and as my sister will tell you, I am a VERY slow reader. There was no way he would still be there. But once I get down to ten pages left I start counting down each page. Eight pages. He's still here? Six... Five... Oh my gosh he's still here. Three... Two... I give up. I read the last page, put my shoes back on and walk directly toward him.
"Having fun?" I ask. "Yeah, yeah" he replies with an accent that reminds me of the Jamaican Boblsed Team. I continue to shock myself by sitting on the bench next to him. I tell him I'm a percussionist too. He asks me where I play. I told him I'm not really playing right now (except for timpani in church) but that I'm actually working on becoming a composer. I hold up my book so he can see the front cover. His voice goes up an few octaves as he starts yelling "No way!" Again, not quite the reaction I was expecting. But, as before, there's a reason for the excitement. He's a film maker.

Every man is the architect of his own future. Go out and build yours.