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Give a Kid a Chance


I attended a concert today. The performer was eighteen-year-old Camden, and he played an instrument (the Mighty Wurlitzer organ) five times older than he is in a theater that was built in 1926. He is self-taught, something I suspected by watching him play, and that was confirmed by his mother later when I introduced myself to her.


The reason I could tell that Camden was self taught, was that he was perfectly in his element on that bench, not only putting his entire body in motion when playing, but equally comfortable in sharing his story with the audience of hundreds. He amused me by being his authentic self, playing the foot pedals with his shoeless feet covered only with keyboard decorated socks. He operated that machine like he had built it; it was putty in his hands. If he made one mistake in the hour and a half that he played for us, I didn’t notice.


Camden is an example of how curiosity blossoms into genius if we give our young people a chance. As Camden told it, he bravely approached the theater staff with nothing more than a bit of courage, some organ and piano experience and an unbridled passion for playing. He was pleasantly surprised when they told him to come back the following week. Since then, he has been playing concerts and accompanying shows on an instrument that is becoming extinct. There is no endangered species list for music, so young people like Camden are to be commended for carrying on the traditions that kept songs in our ancestors’ hearts and goodwill in our souls.


I know all of this, because my son has that same passion for keyboards, and a specific curiosity about their history and how they work. He  became interested in that Mighty Wurlitzer when he learned about all of the vintage and sophisticated  technology that helps it run. He also expressed courage to approach the staff to learn more and contribute. They welcomed him aboard as a volunteer to maintain the organ, and Camden is showing him the ropes on how to play. After the first meeting, my son reported to me that all the guys there were “old like his mother”. After I was done laughing and listening to his excited banter, I gave an inner sigh of relief that music history will live on through these young people. When we do not discount the talent and enthusiasm of our young adults, great things happen, labels like Millennials become meaningless and the generation gap disappears.


FROM THE SANCTUARY

Oh, Mama Nature is showing her fickle spring tease this week. With temperatures nearing seventy degrees today, I was excited to put down my daily chores to spend time outdoors. The deer are getting quicker in their struts, and the red-winged blackbirds, mourning doves, and cardinals are singing their return songs. I swear they are speaking just to me.


It was definitely bittersweet sitting on the porch immersing myself in nature and meditating on my upcoming transition to Ohio. There is more nature there and a much smaller and quieter community waiting for me. Still, I will miss my sacred space by the creek that has sheltered me and my family for more than a dozen years. The downsizing game of keep/donate is in full swing, and the For Sale sign goes up next week. It’s time to pass on nature’s gift to someone else.





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