Playing bass has its high notes

Anna Kate Alford was a guest performer on the bass guitar with the Savannah Alday Band. (Photo courtesy of ANNA KATE ALFORD)

By ANNA KATE ALFORD, Gazebo Staff Writer

Concerts are such surreal events. The screaming crowd. The dark setting with blinding lights.  The eardrum-bursting music.

Doesn’t it seem exhausting, yet still leaves you dancing in euphoric bliss?

Over the summer, I decided to start viewing this magical moment through a different perspective.

Music has always been one of my biggest passions. I played clarinet in the Spirit of Stratford for five years, composed good bit of songs in my free time, and took AP Music Theory my sophomore year. I have learned to play 12 instruments: harp, recorder, clarinet, violin, ukulele, psaltery, ocarina, Native American flute, piano, drums, guitar and bass.

This summer, I have gotten a lot of recognition playing the bass guitar.

Anna Kate Alford and her father, Ben Alford. (Photo courtesy of Alford family)

With my dad, Ben Alford, as my teacher, I have been proving that female bass players exist ever since the beginning of my sophomore year.    

My dad plays bass in The Savannah Alday Band. For my sweet 16th birthday on May 20,  I decided not only would I book Savannah’s band for my party, I would also play bass a song in it. I became one of the first guest performers of the Savannah Alday Band.

At the time, I also was a regular member of the Vineville United Methodist Church Youth Praise Band. I toured Florida with Exodus, the VUMC youth choir this past summer. It made me happy to both play and sing for people I’ve never even met.

Coming home from the Exodus tour, I was greeted with two concert opportunities from two of my dad’s bands.

The first concert was at Fish N’ Pig with the blues band, Crossroads. I was slightly nervous playing more demanding music in front of so many people, especially since we never had a soundcheck rehearsal before I walked onto the stage.

Thankfully, two of my best friends, Kaylee Jellum and Vannah Zawacki,  were dancing and smiling at me the entire time. It was an amazing night I will never forget. Afterward, I was welcomed to play even more music at the next Crossroads concert.

My second concert was an opportunity was a once in a lifetime opportunity for someone with only one year of experience. I played one song with the Savannah Alday Band at Bragg Jam. I played at Crazy Bull and had a huge audience. With my dad playing guitar by my side, I had great time. I can only wish that I get the chance to play at Bragg Jam again.

Soon after school started, I had my most recent concert opportunity. I played twice as many songs at Fish N Pig. The songs might have been more difficult, and I didn’t have my friends by my side, but I played to the best of my ability and I nailed it. After having this experience, I feel much more confident about being on stage and playing songs.

Playing bass this entire summer has been the best musical experience I’ve ever had. I definitely have given made a strong impression on all these strangers. I’ve also made myself a signature stage look, completed by my Union Jack Hofner bass.

I’ve enjoyed playing music that I do not listen to often. Not only does playing introduce me to great music, but I also can play music that others know and love.  

It’s my dream to be a permanent member of a band, but I’m enjoying just being a guest musician at the moment. I can’t wait for my next concert opportunity.         

Anna Kate Alford is a junior on The Gazebo staff.