Friday, August 17, 2012

My First Musical Performance: The Crowd Roars, The Girl Runs Away

I am a musician. I have been a musician virtually my entire life.

This isn't a shock to a lot of you.

But I figured even if you know that you may not know of my first performance ever. Therefore. I am going to tell that story here.

When I was 3 years old I was the ring bearer in my cousin , Jamie's wedding. I took my Frodo duties seriously and completed them successfully

(NOTE my serious face in the ring bearer pic below)

The wedding was wonderful. The wedding went quickly enough that my 3 year attention span didn't get tested, so it must have been fairly brief.

As soon as the ceremony was over I was ready to party.

Next thing I knew we were at the reception. Jamie's husband was a musician so the band at the reception was a good one. I was immediately transfixed by the band

(2nd picture below is me staring at the band in amazement)

Since the music had me feeling good, I took the opportunity to show my affection for the flower girl. I'm not sure how smooth I was at 3, probably about as smooth as I am now (not very). I believe my romantic prowess at the time consisted of me walking up to her , grabbing her hand and dragging her (unwillingly) to the dance floor. I don't have specific memories of this but the only picture that survived from this point of the reception forward is one of a 3 year old me happily bounding toward the dance floor dragging an unhappy, crying flower girl behind me. I'm oblivious to the fact that she doesn't have any desire to come dancing with me. Oh that moment was the harbinger of similar decades to come.

(the 3rd picture below was sent from my cousin Jamie. It was when I first grabbed the flower girl's hand. She hadn't started crying yet but she was looking toward her family with concern. I will have to search and find the best picture (of us mid-dance with me having a good time and her pulling away). I'll update the blog when I locate it)

Anyway, I danced. She cried.

After "our song" was over the band took a break. The girl sprinted back to her family.

Dang. I think I could've won her heart if the music hadn't stopped. I needed one more song. (I was also already an optimist at 3)

I realize now that me forcing her to dance probably traumatized that poor girl for life (also a harbinger of decades of similar moments to follow). But at the time, I NEEDED another song.

It's worth noting that when my mom tells this story, this is a critical moment because everyone had been entertained by watching me make this poor flower girl dance against her will, but suddenly I was nowhere to be found. My mom panicked. Well she didn't realize this was a serious situation for me. I had to win the flower girl's love. When she turned and ran, I knew I had only moments to act. So turned and ran as well. Only I ran toward the stage. I NEEDED another song.

When I got to the stage I didn't see any of the musicians (I learned early that when it is break time musicians run from the stage as fast as traumatized flower girls run from overbearing ring bearers).

I didn't let the lack of musicians slow me down. I needed another song by any means necessary.
Even if it meant I had to be the one to provide it.

Without any hesitation or fear I climbed the side stage stairs and briskly but calmly walked to the microphone stand.

Dang. Foiled again.

Being 3 years old means not having the height to reach the microphone. It was WAY up there and I was WAY down here. I was not going to win the girl's heart like this.

About this time my panicking mother spots me and makes a beeline to the stage. Well before she could reach me the band noticed me and came back on stage.

I told them I wanted to sing.

They thought that was a cute idea so they happily agreed. They also all came back on stage to back me up. They handed me the microphone and asked what songs I wanted to do.

Well at this point I hadn't done a lot of prep work. I had never thought out my song list or practiced. Hell, I had never even thought about singing or performing. But I decided that's what would help my situation so grabbed for the closest microphone. (NOTE: I also learned early how to improvise)

I told the band, "I know 'Zippety Doo Dah' and 'Dukes of Hazzard' (meaning the theme song from Dukes of Hazzard)"

The band backed me up immediately (in retrospect I am amazed that they were able to fall in so quickly on those 2 extremely odd song choices. But like I said , they were pros).

I had zero fear. The band playing energized my performance. I came out front and center and belted out Zippety Doo Dah (pretty sure I sang all wrong words. And I guarantee it was out of key and not in time. But that wasn't important).

I got so into it that I got down on one knee. I was really hamming it up. The crowd gathered around to watch, they cheered and applauded. This encouragement was fuel to the fire. I thought I was Elvis and James Brown. I finished the theme song to Dukes of Hazzard (I'm sure also with all wrong words, pitches and timing) and the crowd erupted.

I won the audience over completely. Well....almost completely.

The flower girl actually wanted less to do with me after my performance. We didn't have much interaction for the rest of the evening.

But I had completed my first "show". I really have no idea what possessed me to run on stage like that. Oh yes......a girl (this was also a harbinger of decades of similar moments to follow). But it's strange to me that I had no reservations. I just went up there like I had done it 100 times before. That definitely wasn't the case.

Before that night, I had never done anything like that. Since that moment I have done almost solely that.

Guess I owe that flower girl a thanks.


  1. She reminds me of the French girl you tried to flirt with on the train. :)

  2. Exactly, Jay. I didn't get deterred in France cause I had had 30 years of practice. Hahaha