Photo credit: Sherry Friel
Something spectacular has taken place in my home. Something warm, exciting and bursting forth like those daffodil sprouts emerging all over Virginia Beach. It started while my husband Skip was away on a month-long trip to Japan. On the first evening of his Dad’s absence, our 11-year-old son Nathaniel would go into his home office and shut the door. It was obvious he was sneaking in there to use Skip’s guitar, which I thought was a perfectly healthy thing to do since he was missing his Dad so much. Besides, this past year my husband noticed he was taking more interest in the instrument and prior to his trip he had been teaching him chords. They even worked out a few songs together. Nathaniel had permission to use the guitar, a vintage Guild, provided he was careful and returned it promptly to its case afterward. So the “sneaking” was unnecessary. But why did it seem so stealthy?
Apparently, more was afoot than I realized behind that closed door. Among the guitars, sound equipment, and inherent inspiration of a musician’s workspace, Nathaniel was definitely up to something as he stole to his Dad’s room each evening after homework. He was working. More precisely, he was perfecting the music he wanted to perform for an audition to be a part of the school variety/talent show. Of course I knew nothing about the audition because he didn’t tell me. But the minute his Dad arrived home from the airport, he couldn’t wait to share with him what he had been up to. The work paid off. Not long after announcing his audition plans, he serenaded us one night at the foot of our bed with an acoustic guitar version of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy. What a delight!
As Nathaniel approaches his 12th birthday, I find myself reminiscing quite a bit about his life, and pondering the experiences that have influenced and nurtured his passions. He has had, I suppose, a unique upbringing in that he is the son of a talented singer-songwriter. His immersion in the consistent creation of music has no doubt made an impression, and picking up his father’s instrument was perhaps inevitable. I also am grateful to have had the opportunity to live in a region that celebrates the arts in ways that continue to strengthen Nathaniel’s desire to make music an important part of his life.
Indeed, as my son embarks on a turning point in his musical passions, I am newly inspired to seek out some of the tried and true musical events we have enjoyed close to home over the years. Here is a sampling of dates I plan to add to our family calendar:
The Out of the Box series at the Sandler Center is family-friendly & free
The Last Bison will perform the final show of the Out of the Box Emerging Artist Series at the Sandler Center. I attended the series last year and found it to be a warm, friendly gathering of people who are passionate about original music performed by local musicians. The event is held from 6-9 p.m. and admission is free. At previous shows, we met up with a group of friends and enjoyed a fabulous evening of good food, home-grown music and refreshing drinks.
I love the sultry sounds of the saxophone. So when I saw that the Washington Saxophone Quartet was performing at the Sandler Center, I quickly noted the details and marked my calendar accordingly. The show is part of the Tidewater Mortgage Services, Inc. Great Performance Series and starts at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $20. My plans are to arrive early in the evening and have dinner with my family at one of Town Center’s many restaurants prior to the performance.
The whole family will enjoy the mesmerizing choral performance of the African Children’s Choir. Part of the Great Performance Series at the Sandler Center, the show begins at 7:30 p.m. Advance admission to secure seating is required via donation, as proceeds benefit ACCESS the ARTS. Performance time is 7:30 p.m.
I hope you will join me as spring and summer unfolds in Virginia Beach. As I glance at the events, new festivals, and programs, it’s clear the season is going to be rich with music, art, and much inspiration for everyone.
Ready for a break?
We’ve got the welcome mat out.
All photo credits: Sherry Friel