Listening to new music that I buy is a huge rush for me, as I wrote about in my last post. But the ultimate high in listening to music has to be hearing it live, and that is just what I did last night. As I was paging through Portland’s alternative weekly newspapers, I happened to see that the students from the School of Rock here were putting on a show just a few blocks from my home at a wonderful place called the Mission Theater, performing the music of Stevie Wonder. What a great chance to hear some awesome music, and at the same time support the up and coming musical talent in my city that is nurtured through this inspiring school of music. Last night’s performance consisted of 27 students taking turns playing various instruments and singing vocals on 26 different Stevie Wonder songs. And believe me, if you ever really listen to any of Stevie Wonder’s music, you’ll realize that it is complex and not that easy to perform. It is full of key changes, rhythmic changes, hyperactive bass lines, inventive keyboard playing and room for lots of vocal improvisation. But this group of eager young musicians gave it their all, and their hard work showed in amazing renditions of these challenging songs. By the end of the night most of the crowd was on their feet dancing, my friend and I included – what a blast! Music is a drug, and how great to see these young people becoming addicted to something that gives their souls a natural high.
June 17, 2012