Skip navigation

Tag Archives: trip

THINGS I LEARNED FROM MY FATHER

In loving memory of H. Edward Wamsley Jr.

My real name is H.  Edward Wamsley III.

I’m badly in need of a clever opening line here.  I don’t have one.  So this will have to suffice:  I buried my father this year.  He passed away due to extreme complications from a liver cancer operation.  He died on September 4th 2009.  He was 81  I see it as more than fitting that a tribute to him should open this WordPress thingamajig.

I am a living legacy to the leader of the band.  My father was an excellent trumpet player and musician and educator.  (So was his father.)  Truth be known, with scattered exceptions I find most trumpet players annoying.  In personality and musicality.  My father had neither the holier and higher notes than thou, attitude and NEVER said anything derogatory about other players.  He had class.  In person, and in tone.  His trumpet tone was part and parcel of what I wanted my bass tone to be if you can believe that.  It was rich, deep and clear.  (Perhaps the tone and the man cannot be separated?) It was a big room that you found comfort and solace in.  It took me many years to partially achieve that in my bass, but in part I succeeded.  He taught me that without words.  Player’s with class teach us so much without words, regardless of instrument.

Most people described him as quiet.  Which he was.  He spent words liked marked currency.  Conversation was like chess.  Here’s one:  The few times I played chess with him.  He would checkmate me in no more than 7 moves.  His greatest moment was checkmating me in two!  He called it a Fool’s mate.  Then he, smiled left the table leaving me basking in my quick and humiliating defeat.  When I was forming my first real band, we had a meeting in my room and we were discussing ideas, goals, metaphysical properties of our ROK and time signatures etc.  Dad walked in and said, “All those ideas are great.  Now, go rehearse them and get a gig.  Then you’ll really learn what’s going to work and what isn’t.  And, by the way, figure out how you can make some money too.”

He embraced technology.  When I told him about Reason and other computer programs, he got Reason for me for Christmas one year.  I still use it to this day.  At the time he was 77.  While he was getting Reason for me he found out about Sibelius and got into that software for arranging music for his students.  There’s a big lesson there.  My father never lived in the past.  He never once said that yesterday, yesteryear or yester whatever was better.  It may very well have BEEN better.  He never said it.  He lived for today.  I didn’t realize it until he had less than a month to live.  He taught me this lesson, again, without words.  It does him honor for me to adopt the same attitude.  I find it frankly difficult.   But, I’m trying.  I’ll be posting more about him later and the things he taught me.  I realized how lucky I was to have had a father.  Not a biological unit, but a real father.  Thanks be to God.  Love to all and later.