Time is a sort of river of passing events: Interlochen 1986 ♪♫
But this one meant more to me than an average passing event. I came to the United States in 1986 as a fledgling brass-man. I had a summer scholarship to Interlochen Arts Academy in Traverse City Michigan.
You've heard it a million times already, but it really does take just a short time to make that all-important first impression. As you can probably tell by this group photo, I was completely in awe. There were hundreds of young people whose brains were wired the same as mine – who liked to do what I liked to do. Before I came to Interlochen, the enterprise of making music was a notoriously abstract thing with all the legitimacy of video-gaming or professional poker.
By week three, composition and performance had become a tangible and authentic endeavor. I played every day at Interlochen as I had been doing since kindergarten, but here I wasn't the guy with the trombone; I was a musician. There's a big difference. I don't believe I would have had this experience at a place like Interlochen in a country other than the United States. There's something weird and fantastic that happens to the brain just being here. Americans use the word "can" more than "can't" and rarely do you hear Americans ask one another "why?" in a challenging manner. The attitude here is "Why not?" It took a while, but we finally made the US our permanent home in 2005.