My baby boy, Seth, likes to try to stump me with classic rock song titles and artists. We used to hit scan on the radio in my car to see who could name that tune the fastest. I usually beat him, seeing how naming tunes is one of my useless talents. He is 18 now, rarely rides with me in my car and, quite frankly, knows old rock music better than I do. He is a musician, a pretty good one, and has come to appreciate the classics the way I hoped he would.
I am thankful Opelika High School has continued to offer guitar classes in these hard times. Our oldest child graduated ten years ago and was blessed to sit under the instruction of a local legend, Robert Orr. He retired her junior year and we all thought the sky would surely cave in. Before he hung up his teacher hat he told our daughter to play her guitar and sing on any stage that would let her. She pretty much has heeded his advice in the free time she’s had since graduating college, getting married and her current gig that demands her attention 24/7 in the “mommy” arena.
Mr. Orr taught guitar, but more importantly he instilled confidence. He told my daughter she was a good musician. She took that as word from someone who knew (besides her mama).
Mr. Orr was replaced and we all wondered if the program could hold up. It did, and a few years later our oldest son stepped through the guitar room door with an old instrument we still had at home. Little brother joined the next year.
Patrick Bruce is the “new” teacher. He has continued the excellent music tradition at OHS. Putting up with the younger (male) Brown children has not been quite the same cake walk that Mr. Orr knew. Boys, being different in every way, present a unique challenge. My daughter was a stranger to classic rock, she chose mostly Christian music as her favorite genre. I’m sure her eyes glazed over when the boys in her class started discussing anything from “The Grateful Dead” to “Chet Atkins.”
Boys, on the other hand know everything. They know every band, every chord, every lick. They know the kind of guitar every guitarist plays and probably where he got it. They already know how to play guitar because … they are boys. Even if they are not particularly good at it, they already KNOW it. Lucky for Mr. Bruce, he gets to witness the magic happen.
I just want to say thank you to Mr. Bruce and Mr. Orr for being patient with all the kids who have contributed to their possible hearing loss over the years. Thank you for the love of the instrument and love of teaching it. May you forever “rock on.”
The Opelika High School guitar concert is tonight at the OPAC. This might be your last opportunity to see a Brown kid show out in such an event, since Seth is a senior.
You’ll see me there, I’ll be the mom in the “I’m With The Band” T-shirt.