Living is like carving
You make it what you see
As wood is shaped by steel
So life is shaped by dreams
From “East on Eden’s Road” by Rick Hill When I was in fifth grade a student from the nearby college would come a couple of times during the year and sing at an assembly. He sang a lot of Kingston Trio songs and a few Peter, Paul and Mary songs. For some reason the music connected with me. That year my mother bought me a $10 guitar the kid up the street was selling. She gave it to me for Christmas and gave me guitar lessons with Dave Braddock, the student from Eastern Baptist College (now Eastern University). I took lessons for about six months, then Dave graduated and headed off to the Peace Corps. I never saw him again. But in that brief time, the music he taught me took root in me and has shaped my life ever since.
The first song I performed was either “Puff, the Magic Dragon” or “Blowin’ In the Wind”. That was also in fifth grade. Songs Dave taught me. The first song I ever wrote was in seventh grade – a love song to a girl named Karen. The first guitsr I bought was a Kay six string. I saw a12-string when I was in 8th grade. By ninth grade I had bought a Harmony 12 string. My first bar gig was after college, playing Thursday nights. My first attempt at a band was with my best friend, Tim Hopkins, and a banjo player whose name I do not remember. We were called KFC, because we were “finger-pickin’ good.” (We weren’t really, but we thought we were.) I played a song I wrote on Gene Shay’s radio show in Philadelphia (WMMR).
I tell you these things in the hopes that they might trigger some of your own memories. I would be willing to bet that a lot of musicians have similar memories. There are a lot of musicians whose lives have been significantly changed by the music we play. The music has shaped us into the people we are today.
The music of Peter, Paul and Mary, Simon and Garfunkle, Crosby, Stills and Nash, and so many others, has given me a moral foundation that has guided, sometimes prodded, me along the road. It has taken me places I would not normally have gone (sometimes that is good, sometimes not so much…), I have met people I would never have met otherwise and have experienced some truly wonderful moments.
All of this is background to why I am involved with F.A.M.E. Music is my passion, it is how I communicate, it is how I make sense of the world. I want to share that with others. I want to invite others into that amazing sphere. In F.A.M.E. I have found others who also have been transformed by music. Their stories are equally amazing. I want to make sure that there is always a place where we can share that passion, always a place where we can nurture that passion in younger folks the way Dave Braddock nurtured it in me.
“Everyone encountered has a gift to share
The gracious heart receives it as a jewel rare
We may not know the pathway, what lies to right or left
But heroes gone before us encourage every step.”
From “East on Eden’s Road” by Rick Hill