Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Biography

For several years now I have contemplated writing an autobiography. Modestly, thought my life might be interesting enough that it could keep a readers attention; I’ve traveled extensively, lived in many places in the world and I believe my musical life, especially with 35 years of full time symphony orchestra experience, possibly might be of interest. Through the last ten years I have actually sat down at my desk with my computer and started the biography project. Quickly, I discovered, even though I’ve been writing for the Japanese magazine Pipers and my personal blog for the last 10 years, that my attempts at were not working. They were strikingly uninteresting.

I have had offers from professional biographers that I did not know, friends who were interested and sometimes, even students, to write my biography. My answer was always negative simply because I was afraid of what I might get and sometimes even that I might not have control of the final product.

Of course, there was another dimension, which was making the decision on how much to tell and at what point to stop and still remain interesting; every biographer has to make a decision where to stop and what not to tell. I found very quickly in my writing that decision was a strategically important.

Last summer we had the first edition of what was called THE ROGER BOBO FESTIVAL OF BRASS at the Jones County Junior College in Mississippi and I had the pleasure of working with the organizers of the festival, Drs. Jonathan Helmick and Travis Scott. They showed an interest in the biography project and in a short time it was very clear they were highly qualified plus they had the dedication to realize the project. I made a time outline, they came to Oaxaca, Mexico and we spent six hours a day for six days making the notes, stories and anecdotes, photographs, ETC, to start a biography.

This was not easy work; talking about yourself for 6 hours a day for one week is exhausting. As the material accumulated I was amazed how much material there was, the formative years, the student years, the cities, the orchestra and teaching positions became a very thick compilation of notes. Of course, the question remains what to include and what to leave out.

It takes a healthy ego to even assume that my biography might be interesting enough to become good reading but now, with the notes of the last days it’s time to step back to get a clearer prospective and to focus on the realities of the present rather than the past.

On the list of things to do:
1.         Continue the work with the OGI (Oaxaca Brass Ensemble)
2.         Prepare for the Roger Bobo Festival of Brass at the University of Slippery Rock in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania, June 12-16, also under the organization of Drs. Jonathan Helmick and Travis Scott.
3.         Continue my very enjoyable 10 years of monthly articles for Pipers magazine.
On a personal note, I miss very much my life in Japan and I look forward to a possible opportunity of returning soon.

January 11, 2016, Oaxaca, Mexico

Roger Bobo