We met a classically trained, professional musician, Fernando Tarango, and his family at the park one sunny Sunday. They were from Indiana, we were from Seattle and somehow our paths crossed here, backed by the cheers of a cricket match, in Wellington, New Zealand.
Our paths diverged but the meeting was real and lasting. Weeks after that day in the park, we got an email asking if our kids would be interested in trying out Fernando’s new Skype songwriting offering. We were not exactly sure what to expect but the kids answered with a resounding “YES!” What happened next was something none of us will ever forget.
As the kids positioned themselves in front of the computer, they were instantly put at ease by Fernando’s warm and engaging presence. During the one hour session, he worked with all three kids collaboratively, to create the melody, rhythm, harmony, and lyrics for a song that told their story. He drew diverse details from them that reflected their unique perceptions at the same time and place, then put them to music. As parents, we stayed away, wanting this to truly represent their perceptions and impressions of this journey.
I could write about all of Fernando’s qualifications, such as writing and producing music for MTV, VH1, E! and the Oxygen Network, and for brands such as Old Spice, Proctor, and Gamble, UPS and more. I could tell you that he is a classically trained tenor, toured the world, performed and recorded with Grammy Award-winning artists, and started his professional career at the age of 10 singing with the American Boychoir School. I could go on and on, but the real testament of his gift is what he is capable of bringing out in others. When you hear his voice tell a story, you will know you are in the presence of a legendary teacher and musician.
I spend so much time capturing our journey on this blog, that sometimes my perceptions may overshadow our children’s voices. I represent their experiences as accurately as I can but I write about us as a family, shying away from speaking for them, with any detail.
After writing their own song, they talked about how to play specific chords, write additional verses, and practice melody and harmony. They play the song daily and point out their individual contributions. Their goal is to be able to sing, play, and perform their song someday. This was the first time someone has taken them through a creative process to make this journey their own and they stand a little taller because now they can sing their story.
The recording above is the last two minutes of the actual session. We hope you enjoy it.