Maybe you’ve already seen one of the videos on my Just for Fun page of my dad singing. What that doesn’t show is that he’s also a musician, primarily a banjo player (click the audio link above to hear him playing “Baby Face”). When I was a kid, sometimes he would perform along with a music-hall-style piano player at a Shakee’s Pizza Parlour in Oklahoma City. It was great fun, with lots of sing-along, and you could request your favourites. The piano player was an old pro, in the show-must-go-on tradition, and he never turned down a request. If you asked if he knew a song and he didn’t, he said, “No, but hum a few bars and I’ll fake it,” and he’d give it a go. Sometimes the result was better than if he’d known the original. It wasn’t so much “faking it” as having faith that he’d figure it out along the way, and knowing that he had the experience and talent and sense of humor to see him through.
I realized a few years ago that “hum a few bars and I’ll fake it” had become a bit of a personal motto for me. It’s not unusual for me to encounter something I’ve never done before (and in fact, I seem to seek out that kind of challenge), but if there’s something I can follow to get started – advice from someone more experienced, an article, a manual, whatever — I’m willing to jump right in. When it’s come to professional challenges, more often than not, IABC has generally provided that resource.
Anyway, my point is that you never know where your inspiration in life will come from, and often you don’t recognize it at the time. So today, I’d like to pay tribute to my dad, Albert Gibson, age 88, and to that piano player, whose name I never knew.