Talk a little about what you do when you’re not playing at the airport.
I work on my boat as much as I can, work on new music for the airport, shoot and edit video for my DVD presentation which is scored with my original soundtracks and enjoy life.
How did you get started playing your kind of music.
By teaching music theory. To keep my students motivated, I would introduce them to different music styles. When I built my first road band, we became a crossover band to get decent paying gigs. We were a quintet with me on a Hammond B3. There I was able to arrange harmonies and parts for the other band members. We came up with our original sound on any style of music we played.
How did you get involved in the airport music program?
A friend of mine told me about the airport performers. I tracked down the person in charge and submitted a DVD. I was vetted and placed on the performers’ roster.
What keeps you coming back to play a non-paying gig?
It’s the people. The workers, the staff and the travelers. I played many a gig in my musical days, but I never had such a gratifying experience like here in JAX airport. Playing for total strangers is a challenge, but this allows me to play a lot of different music styles and be acknowledged for my efforts. The extreme gratification comes when I see the travelers and workers really enjoy my compositions and performance.
Share a favorite experience you’ve had at the airport.
Wow, there were so many. The best two are when I’m playing a heavy song like the Phantom of the Opera theme and about 3 or 4 little kids start to dance to it. That blows my mind as I watch the parents smile at me as they video tape their kids with their cell phones. I know they will have that memory forever. The 2nd experience is when a total stranger comes up to me and says I made their day because they were feeling low and they never expected an experience like this in an airport.
What else would you like to mention?
When I taught myself music theory while riding navy subs, I never realized that this God given gift would be so mentally rewarding later in life as it is here at the airport. This gig allows me to expand my musical and composition growth. This may sound silly, but sometimes when the airport is full, I fantasize about playing Carnegie Hall with just me and my two keyboards. When there’s just a few people here, I think of the nights I played piano in the hotel lobby of a small nondescript town watching the people nursing their drinks. The music always came through because, Music is Magic.