94-Year-Old Fulfills Dream Of Playing With High School Band

November 9, 2018

A 94-year-old WWII veteran checked another item off his bucket list after joining a high school band.

94 year old veteran joins high school band
Credit: Tom Hallman Jr./The Oregonian

At 94, Frank Walsh had a crazy dream to play with a high school band. But he had no musical background.

Chad Davies, band director at Wilsonville High School in Oregon, heard about the idea from the administrator at Walsh's assisted living center, about five minutes away from the school.

When Davies asked his young musicians what they thought about Walsh joining the band, they were thrilled.

So, Davies had to figure out what Walsh could play. He decided on the cymbals.

"He wouldn't have to read music," Davies told The Oregonian. "Just follow the beat, hit on the 2 and the 4, or on every beat – 1, 2, 3, 4 – depending on the song."

Davies had cymbals delivered to Walsh's assisted living center so Walsh could get acquainted with the instrument.

"I've been practicing, you know," he said. "I watch YouTube videos on how to play the cymbals. I've learned how to keep the left hand stable and hit with the right hand and how to deaden the cymbal by pressing it against my body."

 

A few weeks later, Walsh fulfilled his dream of playing in a high school band during Wilsonville's football game against Wilson High School.

Stephen Jennings, the band's lead snare drummer, gave Walsh a few words of encouragement before his big debut.

"Cymbals bring forth the energy in the band," Jennings told Walsh. "You got this."

"Tonight, he's one of us," he said.

Watch the video below.

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