I'm basically re-cycling a post I did on Facebook for a segment honoring my musical mentors. However, I did want to add a few comments on his role as Dad!
As you get older, you gain some perspective on your upbringing. As I reflect on my past and try and put myself in my Dad's shoes, I think my Dad did a remarkable job with us kids. There were many times we didn't get along and many things I've had to work through, but all families have some level of dysfunction. Some of the hands dealt my Dad were very challenging. I've already discussed my Mother's mental illness, but my Dad has forever been dealing with physical issues most of his life. He does feel that his arthritis which kept him from going to Vietnam, may have saved his life seeing as he knew people that either didn't come back or came back pretty messed up. He has had I think 4 hip replacements (both done twice), cancers, and multiple other issues which he deals with to this day. The remarkable thing is, I don't really think I've ever heard him complain about any of it. I know he always is in pain and has been for as long as I can remember, but he just kept going. I know he's tired, and when it's time to go home to heaven, he is ready. What a blessed assurance to know because of his faith in Jesus, that death has no sting and even better for me personally, I do not ever have to say good bye. I think the true test of love is when you are at your lowest, who will be there for you. My Dad has always been there for me and I will forever be grateful for his love. Love you Pops and Happy 73rd birthday!
My Facebook post:
For a long time when I would talk about my teachers I'd start with my private trumpet teachers that I started with in like 6th or 7th grade and I'm going to be giving them shoutouts in upcoming posts, but my Dad would always say, you know I'm your first trumpet teacher. I never really equated him as my first trumpet teacher because he is a saxophonist. Then I thought about it and he's right. I started on drums early and that will be another story but for whatever reason, my Dad wouldn't let me play drums once band started, so I chose trumpet. The Christmas of 4th grade my Dad bought me my first cornet. (I thought for sure I had a picture of that but can't find one, I do have a video of me getting my first snare drum however). It was then he started me on the cornet. When I think back to that, he had me start in the normal beginning band book, but one thing he made me do was play by ear each week. He would have me learn Mary Had a Little Lamb, and then when I learned enough new notes, he'd tell me to play it starting on a new note. That was very formative in my playing. I am thankful that my first teacher was my Dad on trumpet. He taught me to read music, play by ear, and gave me my love for music. I've never known a time without music. We did not have a lot of money growing up and I know it was a stretch for him to not only get me my cornet (which got ripped off) then buy me a trumpet when I got in HS (which got ripped off) but also pay for my lessons once I moved on from him as my teacher on trumpet. Then we all know he became my HS Band Director. Love you Dad and thank you!
Max Colley III
Spirit Filled Jazz Musician