By: Heather Desmond O’Neill
“Mama, is it time for me to go on stage?”
Not yet, buddy.
For as long as I can remember, Jameson has loved being around music. Maybe it’s because I taught dance through my pregnancy with him or because he was visited numerous performing arts venues (dance competitions, performing arts camps, live music venues, etc.) as an infant and toddler. Or, because he debuted in his first dance recital at just 3 months old! Whatever it was, it has clearly stuck with him.
When he was 2 ½ years old, we took him to see a friend’s band play in a kid-friendly venue. The band had some musical instruments, and asked for the kids to join in with them. Jameson jumped up on stage and played the next three sets with the band on the Djembe….. and he was playing right along with them! A star was born!
I’m lucky enough to be involved with the Summer Stars Camp for the Performing Arts, a nonprofit organization devoted to providing economically disadvantaged children, ages 12 -15, with an opportunity to discover themselves and their potential through the arts. Each summer I take the boys with me to “camp.” Jameson has been exposed to young artists and has even had the opportunity to perform himself. Last summer he jumped on stage with his guitar and started singing into a microphone as professional singers, musicians, and a one-of-a-kind audience backed him up. I saw a spark in him and realized that he was falling in love with music.
Knowing that music was something that he truly enjoyed, we began private piano and drum lessons with two extremely talented and influential people in his life – his aunt and uncle. (I wish my husband and I had some sort of musical talent. My husband claims to have “won” a piano recital in the 5th grade…that was the beginning and the end of his musical journey. I was asked by my 6th grade band director to seriously think about focusing on chorus rather than band…my clarinet skills were not too impressive.) I’m glad that my brother and his wife have the skills, and patience, to provide Jameson with proper musical instruction. The lessons are fun and usually last between 15-20 minutes, but they are a great introduction to the world of music. I see guitar lessons in our very near future.
This week we saw the Imagination Movers perform. They were amazing, performing at 110%, in full gear, in 99 degree heat…simply astounding. At the end of the performance, one of the Movers said “Get your kids to play musical instruments. They will thank you one day.” It hit home with me. At such a young age, my son has found something that he truly loves and enjoys. I hope that he continues on this path of creating music for as long as he wants to.
Thank you to the musicians in his life – Shawn and Becky Desmond, Rob Pagnano and Six Foot Sunday, Peter Joy, all of the staff and campers at Summer Stars Camp for the Performing Arts, and Usher’s Camp New Look – you’ve given him something to be god at and to love. I can’t wait to see where this road takes us!