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Whew . . . what a year!
(Click on links throughout for more details)

At the suggestion of several friends and musical/traveling cohorts, and without knowing the slightest bit about what I was doing, I ran my first ever post on January 1st of this year. BAM! Here’s your merit badge. You are now officially a blogger. I really didn’t know why exactly I was doing it, what I was getting myself into, nor where it would lead me. I still don’t.

And I’m not entirely sure when the answers to those questions will reveal themselves. As a matter of fact, amidst the process of writing I’ve reached the decision that, even without those answers, I have no choice but to continue. I hope that some of my writing and sharing has been beneficial to readers. But they have also been extremely beneficial to me. I have learned a great deal about myself along the way, and about those who have cared to participate in the comment discussions, contribute and share their own experiences.

Seeing as this is now the end of the year and, somehow, post #56, I figured that this would be a perfect time to take a step back, catch my breath and review what’s went down over the past twelve months.

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In addition to the usual gigs and private lessons, 2010 has been an eventful year. January brought with it a string of Elvis impersonation gigs (me drumming for them, NOT singing Elvis!), as well as a trip to San Francisco for the beginning stages of a drum book collaboration with legendary Cuban percussionist Walfredo Reyes, Sr., and authors Elliot Fine (“4-Way Coordination“) and Dave Stanoch (“Mastering the Tables of Time“). I wrapped the month up being the sole accompanist for my friend, Leslie Grasa’s, one-woman play, The Real.
* Check out this post: No Fumar, por favor

February included two serious musical butt kickings– one by The Rolling Stones‘ saxophonist Tim Ries; the other by longtime Mel Torme drummer, Donny Osborne.
* Check out this post: You on the WRONG bus, gringo!

I couldn’t wait for March to arrive . . . time to pack the (less than 8 lbs.) bag and wait for Lucinda Vette to fly in. Then we were off to visit my best friend, Benjamin Cloyd in Thailand! Gigging on the island of Ko Tao, visiting the ornate Buddhist wats, touring the Tycoon Percussion factory, getting smack-dab in the middle of the Red Shirt protests, walking into tiger cages, connecting with friends Brad & Emily, making new friends (Cody, Jodi, Sean). All around, an unbelievable trip!
* Check out this post: Witness to the sacred

After four years of living in Oregon, my little sister visited in April, becoming the first of my family to ever make it west of Yellowstone. I also got to travel to Seattle once again to teach three classes at the World Rhythm Festival. What a great bunch of excited and supportive percussionists- I can’t wait to get back up there in a few months! On the very last day of the month, my friend Rose gifted me the opportunity to see/hear former South African President and Nobel Peace Laureate F.W. de Klerk speak in the area. He relayed a powerful message, speaking about diversity, the current immigration issues our country is battling and future changes needed in our education system.
* Check out this post: Fearless . . . ruthless

In May, I sponsored a Middle Eastern percussion workshop and performance in Salem by the superhuman Raquy Danziger. I also played loads of gigs, participated in the 28-day $100 Business Forum, and headed to Vancouver, British Columbia, for some snow hiking in Garibaldi Provincial Park. Other than a couple issues crossing the border with a drumset and bear spray, it was an amazing way to wrap up the month!
* Check out this post: Confessions of a Thief

June: Back from Canada and off to California again . . . this time to play a gig with The Spazmatics in Santa Rosa and spend a little more time working on the book with Walfredo.
* Check out this post: Repurposing Your Life

I did recording sessions in July for two different album projects. I also backed up my all-time favorite impersonator (he’s the spittin’ image of John Denver), presented a couple of my “Sights & Sounds of Ghana” West African percussion workshops, caught one of my old drum instructors playing with the Steve Miller Band, took my annual study trip to Puerto Rico, and gave myself a mohawk for an M-80s gig . . . not necessarily in that order!
* Check out this post: I’m Such a Failure

Announcing an official blog “Grand Opening” in August, I created a plan of attack to help keep myself on-track with goals that are important to me. Two more performances of The Real, two shows with visiting Canadian artist, Barbara Chamberlin, and a visit from my mother, who has never before traveled outside the Midwest! Also got an enormous boost of inspiration from finally meeting Tyler Tervooren!
* Check out this post: Ups, Downs and Pushing Buttons

A busy month of writing, I took my first stabs at guest posting on other sites in September. After putting mom back on the Amtrak, a whirlwind ensued. My adult hand drum class performed at the State Fair and then I hopped a flight to Wisconsin to stand up in my best friend’s wedding. Immediately upon returning from that trip, I was in zombie makeup, rockin’ out onstage at Amanda Richards‘ CD release show. After having the pleasure of catching one of my drum heroes, Roy Haynes, perform live for the first time, it was nothing but a stretch of gigs for me until the end of the month. Oh yeah, and getting to meet the incredible Tammy Strobel . . .
* Check out this post: How To Be The Next Starbucks

I only need two words to describe October: Muddy Buddy! I teamed up with good friend Steve Schob and pounded out the bike/run/obstacle course, culminating in a crawl through the infamous mud pit. Oops, sorry . . . two more words: Matt Koenig. Tracked down this super cool cat who lives just south of me. Well, that is, until he moves his entire family to Indonesia next year for a 1 year sabbatical. I’m sure meeting a ton of unbelievable people this year!
* Check out this post: What A Cup Of Coffee Will Buy You

November was full of yet more recording. I can’t wait to hear this forthcoming CD, which includes Lee Worden and Nathan Olsen, two of the best players around! I also got interviewed by ShakeOffTheGrind and played the first of two concerts that I did this season with the Salem Pops Orchestra.
* Check out this post: Kick Procrastination in the Arse

Wow- another year gone by already! December was an interesting month for me. I launched my new personal charity project, TheDonatingDrummer. While I was excited about getting that off the ground, I hit a bit of a slump in many ways. But, c’est la vie, I suppose. And after getting some much appreciated (and much needed) support and advice from friends and readers, I am back in action and ready to rock the coming year! This month has been loaded with gigs: the Trillium event that funded this month’s TheDonatingDrummer project, six Singing Christmas Tree performances and seven other local shows. To top it all off, I fly out to California first thing tomorrow morning, for a New Years gig with The Spazmatics. For a number of reasons, one of my favorite gigs; and drumming with that crew is the best way I can imagine to ring in 2011!
* Check out this post: Change Your Direction

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2010 has been a fantastic year- most definitely due to all of the amazing family and friends in my life!
Thank you, thank you to every single one of you that I have the pleasure of knowing and learning from, musically, personally and otherwise, online and offline. Here’s to ’11- another year of music, travel, adventures, growth and slammin’ through that bucket list!

If you’ve been enjoying my posts so far, stay tuned, I’m going to be covering all sorts of topics in the next several months! I invite you to pass the site on to anyone else you think might be interested. Just click on any or all of the buttons in the upper right of this page to share and subscribe. Thanks again!