News from Vermont #396 Music For Generations To Come!

March 29, 2018

Hello again Maple People,
Four decades ago Betsy and I, and  Rich and Shawn Davidian, all East Montpelierites, either engaged in some mighty strategic family planning or the stars were lined up in just the right way. Here’s our story: PJ Davidian and Robinson Morse were born in 1978. Then Joey Davidian and Tommy Morse followed in 1980. Nothing striking so far you say?…it’s quite normal for couples in their late twenties and early thirties to have kids so that’s not the remarkable part. It’s the sorting out that makes these events so unusual.

First of all, let’s start with Rich and me. Rich, a sax playing music teacher by trade and I, a trombone playing farmer have both played in the Vermont Jazz Ensemble for those four decades. Our young man dreams, of course, were to have kids who might follow suit. When PJ and Rob reached the appropriate age to pick musical instruments, PJ chose drums and Rob chose trombone. With Joey and Tom, it was trombone and trumpet respectively. This pleased Rich and me, even though the trombone mix was a bit lopsided.
Loyalty to their original choices, however, was not to be for Rob and Joey. Early on, they both “jumped ship”, trading their trombones for bass and piano. Probably taking a page from their dads’ playbook, all four boys leaned toward jazz. As they progressed and matured with their music studies, the four of them seemed to spur each other on to do better and better and thus all four excelled! The best part for the “two old men”, besides bursting with pride, was that suddenly the Morse/Davidian families had the perfect instrumentation for a jazz sextet: piano, drums, bass, trumpet, trombone and sax.
The six of us recently put on our second annual concert down at a Montpelier night spot. Fortunately for the business and for us, word had spread and neighbors packed the house. Although our single rehearsal the night before left us far from blemish-free, folks really enjoyed our music. One thing that makes or breaks small impromptu music groups like ours is musical “chemistry”, kind of a silent agreement on proper beginnings, endings, phrasing, and style. Whether it’s something in our East Montpelier water or by our blood relationships, the Morse/Davidian musical chemistry that night pulled us through some tough spots.
Perhaps our best harmony, though, came much more indirectly through the moms. I well remember both Shawn and Betsy forever carting kids off to music lessons and making them practice when they got home (one of the essentials, of course, for a mature musician). The night of our performance, the womenfolk both sat beaming and no doubt thinking, “How blessed we are!”. John Denver once said, “No matter what language we speak, what color we are, the form of our politics or the expression of our love and our faith, music proves: We are the same.” And to that I say, “hear, hear”, especially when you keep it all in the family.


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