Most of my friends know I am a musician. A lot of people have influenced me (musically) through the years. None more than a band director from my high-school years, Danny Leonard. Danny had (and still has) a music school in Charleston, SC where I grew up. My junior year of high-school, I joined the school. As a member of the school, I took private music lessons and was part of the concert band and the jazz dance band. Every year we had a week long intensive music summer camp, took a tour and made a record. What a wonderful experience!
Danny was an exacting and demanding music director. One of my favorite memories (although it was terrifying at the time) was how he would occasionally stop the rehearsal abruptly and point to someone and ask them to sing the part of another section in the band… usually when you were playing too loudly. So I and the rest of the trombone section would be playing our parts proudly and loudly only to have him stop the band, point and ask one of us to sing the flute part. The flute part! Are you kidding? You mean those quiet little woodwinds way over on the other side of the room!? He wanted each of us to be able to hear the whole piece; to be aware that our part wasn’t everything. There was actually other music happening right in the same room. What a great life-lesson! Each part is important, but the music of the band is all the parts together. I could tell you a hundred more stories just like this one.
Last November, Danny and I met at the new music school and caught up on more years apart than I care to admit. I learned that in recent years Danny had not one, but two battles with cancer and beat it. If you have ever met Danny, you know that he has a passion that just draws others in. As he told me about his plans to make a second bike ride across America to raise awareness for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, I was hooked and ready to join him. I offered to help by creating a web site for the trip. I’m happy to say that they web site is live and the trip begins next week!
Please check it out and subscribe to join me in following their progress as they journey from San Diego, CA to Charleston, SC. If you are in Charleston this Friday night (April 17th), check out the Blues Brew & BBQ send off bash.