I’m With the Band



Tiffany Jobe, Editor

The Ashland Beacon


   For more of my life than not, I have been a musician. 

   My love for music started early. I remember playing with my parent’s albums as a very small child. They even bought me my own album, Disney’s Mousercize. I can still hear the songs in my mind and I can’t help but smile. I would get so excited when my mom would put it on. I remember trying so hard not to jump or dance too hard because it would make the needle skip on the vinyl. 

   I grew up with great 80s music. I am sure even as you are reading this you are thinking of the songs that stir memories for you. My first music crush was the singer Tiffany and man, she was the coolest. Her songs were so different from anything I had heard up to that point and my parents weren’t crazy about them. So, of course, I loved her even more. By the time Janet Jackson rolled around my friends and I were professional choreographers with regular performances that were mandatory for family. 

   Every week in elementary school, my music teacher, Marsha Underwood, would spend an hour with us and it was never enough. She was the most enthusiastic person with an infectious love for music. That time we spent with her was my favorite. It was the only time at school I truly felt at peace. Side note: I recently got the opportunity to tell her that after 30+ years of not seeing her. She was a huge influence in my life.

   I was entering middle school when my mom insisted (emphasis on insisted) that I take band class. I loved music, but band was not considered cool. No deal. I obviously lost that battle and I am so grateful I did. I chose the clarinet because that’s what my mom played. 

   Joe Skaggs was my band director at Verity Middle. He was a saint to take on a classroom full of young kids with instruments they had no clue how to play. But let me tell you, that man had a gift. He was a clarinet player but was able to teach every instrument to so many kids. Shortly after I graduated high school, I was fortunate enough to play with Joe, Donny Payne, and David Miller (other local music legends) in several musicals, and years later, in the Huntington Symphonic Band as well. I learned so much from these men and I feel very lucky to have had them as teachers and later, friends. 

   High School was great for me and I am convinced it was because of music. Our marching band was over 200+ musicians strong, and not to “toot our own horn,” but we were good. I worked hard to perfect my skills because I had decided that I wanted music to be in my life forever. Throughout high school I won many awards, held chairs in All-District and the Kentucky Music Educators Association All-Sate Band, and received a scholarship from Morehead State University to become a music teacher. 

   My life ended up going in a different career path, but music lights the way of that path. Back in the early spring of this year, my brother invited me to come sing with a band he had been playing with. Now you should know, most of my musical experience is instrument based, but sometimes I can belt out a few good songs. I was extremely hesitant because singing outside of the car is really out of my comfort zone. And now we meet every week or two, play for a couple hours, eat dinner together, and then play a couple more. It is hard to get together more often because of life in general, but on practice days I wake up excited. It is great stress relief and lets me get back to something I have loved my entire life. And singing in a rock band is like, really, really cool. 

   Even on my worst days, music has the ability to make me happy. I can play music to match my mood. I can play music to change my mood. It has saved my life many times over. It has offered me comfort when I feel alone. Because music speaks when words fail.