It all began with a Dentist's appointment. My teeth were poked, prodded and cleaned on a school day causing me to show up late. As it turned out, this was the day that the orchestra director showed up to let the third graders try out orchestra instruments. I arrived just as she was packing up and only had the opportunity to try one instrument. I was in line for the cello when someone said, "What about this thing?" and pointed to the bass. I changed lines and decided it was the instrument for me. This was the beginning of a long line of being a bass player. I was invited to join the high school orchestra when I was still in eighth grade so I ended up getting five years of high school orchestra.
Christmas of my freshman year of high school I was given a bass guitar and amp as a present which opened up another dimension of bass playing for me. I kept up both through high school, playing with JSM Jazz Machine, the Sons of Gallifrey and Berwyn Jazz as well as with various school ensembles (including occasional stints on low brass and percussion). In college playing double bass slipped away from me with only one concert performed with the college's symphony. But I kept up playing bass guitar, including with a Genesis cover band and any pick-up ensemble I could play with.
After college, my bass playing was somewhat subdued, having few opportunities. That plus some dirty connections in the electronics in my electric bass meant that I focused much more on piano and guitar for about four years.
My rebirth as a bass player began in 1996 when the director of the local college gospel choir discovered that I was a bass player and asked me to join them. It was trial by fire and by the end of the brief time that I was with them, my identity as a bass player was rekindled.
Shortly after that I moved back to Chicago and did more church gigs. My style as a bass player continued to develop and I'd occasionally have people ask me if I was a pro. Definitely a nice ego boost.
In April of 2000 I bought an upright bass and began becoming re-acquainted with an instrument I hadn't played (aside from occasional visits to music shops) for a decade. In January of 2001, I began taking lessons from Greg Sarchet (Lyric Opera, Vienna Waltz ensemble). May of 2001 marked my return to orchestral playing with my playing the solo bass part for the orchestra in a production of Noye's Fludde.
I do a handful of pro gigs from time to time: The occasional pit orchestra, jazz ensembles, playing ringer for college symphonies, and the occasional recording session (I've played with Paul Grogan and Kate Shindle). Feel free to drop me a line if you're looking for someone.
Since moving back to California, I've been starting to get into the music scene again. I've been mostly getting calls to play upright bass (Skip Sams Little Big Band, Paul Grogan, Brett Houston) but I've also been doing occasional piano gigs. No regular band situations at the moment, but I'm contemplating getting something together in 2005.
I'd been giving occasional bass guitar lessons in Chicago, but I've not been doing lessons (yet) in California.