Me & Bobby #ThrowbackThursday
In April 2005, I was given tickets to see my biggest musical inspiration, Bobby McFerrin, live at the Craterian Ginger Rogers Theater in Medford, Oregon. On the drive up to the show, I looked over to my partner and blurted out, "Bobby is going to call me up on stage by name!" She looked over at me and said, "Ok! I say yes to that."
In the middle of his set he stopped and asked the audience, "Anyone bring a tuba?" the audience erupted in laughter. He then said "How about a trumpet?... a harmonica?... what about a mouth harp?" At which point I lept up with my hand in the air, knowing full well that I didn't have any of those instruments. I figured that this was my chance to get on stage with him. He then asked me if I had truly brought a mouth harp, I said "No, but I have a mouth that can make instrument sounds!" He then invited me up on stage and asked my name. When I said "Cornflower" the crowd started laughing, and Bobby looked at me like I was crazy, but with a sweet flicker of joy and adventure in his eyes. He then said, "What do you want to do?" and I responded, "I can start with a beat."
"I was shoulder to shoulder with one of my greatest music inspirations."
And there we went. I began beatboxing and he jumped in and layered an interlocking melody over the beat. Before you know it, we were switching parts, he took over the beatboxing and I took over the melody. We then departed into a call and response gibberish fest with us both speaking absolute nonsense languages from another planet. We built and built and built to a crescendo, and then finally, at the drop of a dime, we dropped right back into the groove we had started with as if we had rehearsed it! The crowd went wild! I had my first major music experience of feeling a 1000+ crowd erupt in joy and celebration from something I was a part of.
After we completed to an enormous applause, I went back out to my seat to sit with my partner, I was buzzing from head to toe. I had to have her hold my hand so I could come down to earth again. After another song passed, Bobby then invited a bunch of vocalists to come onto the stage, and after he had almost 12 singers, both men and women, he said, "Cornflower, get back up here, you are a tenor, we need another tenor!" WHAT?!?! He called me up onto the stage, BY NAME! Exactly like what I had blurted out on the car ride up to the show, he called out my name and asked me to come to the stage! I looked at my partner and screamed, "He did it! It happened!"
I will never forget this moment, as it was a major turning point for me as a musician.