|Peter with his grandson Tyler|
I have 2 children, my daughter, Katie, is 29, and my son, JD, is 3 ½ years old. What really strikes me as amazing is that while I’ve heavily exposed both of them to all kinds of music, because of the age difference, the change in technology, the overhaul in how we consume music, the mediums through which they have been exposed are completely different.
My early exposure to music is memorable. I built my first guitar out of an Erecter Set, dowels and rubber bands when I was about 7 years old. I did it because of a very old television cartoon show… The Beatles! Around this same time my dad let me start digging through his 78s and the, then new, LP albums. His collection was very heavy on Big Bands: Artie Shaw, Glenn Miller, Count Basie, Duke Ellington. He also had a lot of solo artists like Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole, and a smidgen of country, Hank Williams and Patsy Cline. My sister was 4 years older (that’s a lifetime when you’re young). She and her friends were into singles (45’s), but she never allowed me to touch them, so I would sit outside the door to her room and just listen.
That’s right, The Monkees- Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones and Peter Tork – who will be here tonight on Father’s Day. At that tender young age, my favorite Monkee was Michael Nesmith. He who left the group in 1969 and went on to become a successful TV and film producer and wrote hits for Olivia Newton-John, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Linda Ronstadt and others.
Fast forward to 1982. Kathryn Eulalia Zimmerman is born at 3:30 am on January 30th in Greeley, CO. From the moment we brought her home, she was exposed to music, live and recorded. I played it all the time. The delivery system was what is now referred to as vinyl. We called them albums back then, and they were played in their entirety every time. First side A, then side B. I also had a reel-to-reel playback and recording system for 4 track recording.
Fast forward to 2007. John David Tadhg Zimmerman is born at 4:46 p.m. on November 3rd in Virginia. Boy, oh boy, how the world has changed. As different as it is raising a girl compared to a boy, the way I share music with my son has changed. I sing to JD and play the guitar and other instruments for him, and he comes to the occasional show at Wolf Trap, but the recorded music that he listens to comes entirely from an ipod. It’s all digital.
From JD’s very first nights on earth, my wife and I sang him an a cappella song from the band Eddie From Ohio.
“Hey little man, hey little man, What’cha gonna dream about tonight? …Are you gonna dream about the colors of the rainbow, or the pot of gold that’s waiting at the end?”
When he started getting into listening to recorded music, he would play that song over and over again! Last summer when Eddie From Ohio played the Filene Center, JD stopped by for the soundcheck, and Julie, Robbie, Mike and Eddie sang it for him live. He couldn’t believe it! That song he’s heard so many times being sung to him by real people! He has been exposed to a lot of live music, but you could see the connection being made in his head.
We talk regularly about the magic of Wolf Trap, and this was truly a magical moment.
I am so blessed. I have 2 great kids, and I work in a business I truly love. And every day I have the opportunity to pass on my passion for music and the arts.
The lawn will be packed at Wolf Trap tonight. There will be many families, lots of dads and granddads. So, as you enjoy the show tonight, say a little thank you to the person in your life who first shared their love of music with you.
Happy Father’s Day!