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When life gives you eggs, make an omelette

Thom reflects on his experience playing in the pit band for the upcoming musical Something Rotten
For your consideration - Thom Barker

A couple of years ago, I was asked to play bass in a rock-n-roll band. I was jonesing to get back into playing live music and jumped at the chance. They even already had a gig lined up, I was told.

That was on a Tuesday.

I was given a list of 20 songs and started working on them. At our first rehearsal on Thursday, I found out the gig we were playing was a wedding scheduled for that Saturday.

I basically learned 20 songs in three days and we played the wedding with one rehearsal under our collective guitar strap.

That was a piece of cake compared to the last six weeks.

When I was asked to play guitar for Charles Hays Secondary’s production of the musical Something Rotten, I had to think about it. If it had been bass, I would have said yes before the question had even finished being asked.

When I looked at the music, I knew it was going to be a serious challenge. I was not anywhere near being a great guitar player (in fact, my Telecaster had been sitting in its case for almost two years). And, while I theoretically knew how to read music, I was in no way, shape or form proficient at it — particularly not in the treble clef (tablature is just so much more convenient for guitar and bass).

Nevertheless, it was an opportunity I could not refuse.

Six weeks later, I am still not by any stretch of the imagination a great guitar player, but with a lot of hard work, as well as, patience from and coaching by CHSS band teacher Daniel Sim, I believe I will be at least passable for the three performances this weekend.

And, I can finally read music, something I’ve been meaning to learn to do for a long time.

I was given a basket of eggs and I’ve somehow managed to make kind of a messy omelette out of it (you may have to come see the show to get that reference).

It has been an incredibly rewarding experience.

If I am being honest, though, the most rewarding thing has been something I didn’t really expect.

The most rewarding part of it has been having the opportunity to work with a really talented bunch of young people.

Something Rotten is a great show. It’s irreverent, clever and funny. And the music is great.

None of us are deluding ourselves that it is Broadway. Or even off-off-off-off-Broadway. But it’s a ton of fun and everyone in Rupert should come and see it, even if just to support the wonderful kids who put it all together.

Tickets are only $20. How can you go wrong?

Thom Barker

About the Author: Thom Barker

After graduating with a geology degree from Carleton University and taking a detour through the high tech business, Thom started his journalism career as a fact-checker for a magazine in Ottawa in 2002.
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