Ever since I started playing drums, the reasoning behind it was for the pure fun of it. I never dreamed of "making it big" or "getting a job," and that was mostly because I had no idea that it could've turned into those things, until I began my time with the Percussion Scholarship Group. What peaked my interest in that group in the first place was a very interesting field trip in the third grade.
This was a trip to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's Education Concert. Of course being a kid, I bypassed what it was called and just saw FIELD TRIP!!! So, I had no idea what I was in for I'm sure. The concert "started" with everyone warming up on stage, and this mime walks out and starts taking pictures of the orchestra and other antics. Basically from then on, the mime tries to join the orchestra as a conductor, a trumpet player and a singer. There's even another mime in the mix, after a while, and then it really gets interesting with some partner tap dancing. In the end, the mime learns that he could just listen and be a part of the orchestra in that way, just like we did as audience members. Meanwhile, in my mind, "Oh this is so cool, and funny and interesting and fun looking. I wanna play with people like that, and do concerts like this. This is so much fun!"
Fast forward about 16 years to my 25th birthday week. I'm playing my first "acting principal" job with the Illinois Symphony, and it's an education concert. First thought, "I love doing these!" We begin rehearsal and the mime begins his act, and I'm thinking to myself, "This seems really familiar.....A trumpet playing mime......Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra......It can't be...." Literally, when I realized who it was I had to hold back tears. I never thought I would actually remember that day, let alone meet the person who got me so excited to be a performer in the first place. So, after rehearsal I went to the two mimes, asked them questions about their act, and just like I thought, they were the same mimes I saw when I went on that field trip.
I'm sure a lot of us have that person who encouraged us to start our careers. For most, I assume the inspiration was more close to home, like a teacher or a family member. But also that inspiration can come from someone less accessible, like a celebrity. So, for me this was just a special and meaningful experience that I will never forget or take for granted, and I hope they know how grateful I am for them and how they changed my life. Don't ever lose your reason for doing what you do, because when things get tough, that might be the one thing that keeps you going.