The fortunate discovery of Resa’s Pieces’ wonderful website has enhanced my 50 year long love of music. Captivated by the joy expressed on Resa’s face in the photo album, I was thrilled to find that the exuberance Resa radiates is even more intense in person.
Playing at a McGill University student residence dance in 1964, I had no concept that music for percussion was written. There was no music program at my Montreal high school and I had no formal training. Drumming, to my limited understanding, was intuitive, visceral, ear driven, but most of all great fun!
When I started playing in community bands 20 years ago, the learning curve was steep. There was many a time when 30 musicians turned around and looked at me with a frown. Conductors, six and counting, did not take kindly to an undisciplined drummer.
There was a memorable rehearsal with a guest conductor who was a respected retired high school teacher. Some of his alumni came to the rehearsal to honour him. One of them was a percussionist reputed to have gone on to study at Juilliard. I was on drum set and Mr. Juilliard was on tympani behind me. There was only one percussion score for that particular piece and I handed it back to him. After 60 bars of rest he leaned over and asked “where are we”? When I explained that I did not have a score, he asked “then how are you playing?” I answered “oh, I play better without written music”.
Much has changed over the years, the hair is sparse, the beard is white and the score now has a prominent place at the drum set, but the joy of playing music with such a wonderful group is as intense as ever.