I’ve been called a “musical chameleon.” Though best known as a BSO bassist, I also play piano for local folk and ballroom dance groups, and mandola with the Baltimore Mandolin Orchestra. I’m a songwriter and published arranger/composer. Two of my orchestral arrangements have been performed on international tours by the BSO. And I’ve been asked asked me to fill in keyboard, mandolin, banjo, and tin whistle on occasion.
For the past 15 years, BSO percussionist Chris Williams and I have been performing in elementary school classrooms. We’ve put together an entertaining presentation about the musical families of instruments which requires me to play double bass, tabor pipe, psaltery, ocarina, panpipes, flute, bamboo clarinet and my own “Home Depot bassoon” that I made from plastic tubing.
Lately, I’ve turned my attention to the stage. I had an idea that the mayoral years of the late Governor William Donald Schaefer would make a great subject for a musical. I started writing some of the songs when he passed away in 2011, and really got excited about making this work. With Baltimore playwright Rich Espey’s help, “Do It Now” was born. We’ve had two successful public readings, and my dream is to see it on the stage once we’ve fashioned it into the best show it can be.
Another little thing I do that has earned me some notoriety within BSO circles is my role as the unofficial musical tribute writer. Whenever there’s a retirement, anniversary, birthday, etc., they call on me to come up with a little song parody to mark the occasion. I have a lot of fun doing it. I’ll never forget the goodbye song I composed for (former BSO music director) Yuri Temirkanov. It was written to the tune of “I’ve Got Rhythm” and was sung in both English and Russian. The look on the Maestro’s face was priceless!