Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Right Note Column - Joel Shadbolt

Not every child has a natural talent to do school work - some children seem to have an in-built aversion to it while others take to it like a duck to water.

With our child brainwashing system the way it is, many children with exceptional talents in all kinds of potential job vocations get swept under the carpet, or relegated to the corner of the room so as not to disrupt the majority because their particular talents and strong points are not catered for, or seen as important in the one-size-fits-all system.

I do not mean to say that fundamental skills in Mathematics and English should not be achieved simultaneously, but Instead of wasting young lives sitting through algebra and French lessons, these young budding child prodigies could be honing the skills that they have a natural aptitude for.

Many of these children - who are left with nothing to do but make a nuissance of themselves or bore themselves to death in uninspiring classrooms - have exceptional talents in the field of art or performance, or sports or music.

I have met and worked with several extremely talented musicians who would have fallen into this category, and I have often wondered what levels of virtuosity they would have achieved had they had the opportunity to study and concentrate on these skills rather than sit daydreaming about them during lessons on pythagoras's theorum!

Not that I am suggesting for one moment that the young man I am about to mention had any such aversion to schoolwork, but one thing for sure, from a very young age he certainly showed all the hallmarks of achieving excellence in the field of musical performance.

About 13 years ago now, When Joel Shadbolt was about 4 years old, two local musicians - Jon Michaels and Bruce Rolands - had a residency at The Astrolabe on a Sunday.

Every week Brian and Jocelyn, his parents, would go along to watch, and take Joel, who would stand in front of Bruce for the entire gig, mesmerised by Bruce and his guitar playing, and understandably so, as Bruce is very passionate about music, and his performance, and has always made a striking figure on-stage.

Brian found an old ukelele at the dump, and Joel would take it along to these Sunday gigs, and take up his position in front of Bruce and strum along.

Many years later Bruce is reported to have said “If I knew he was going to turn out this bloody good I would have told him to bugger-off!”

Anyway, the real reason for all this is as many of you may be aware, Joel has been invited to attend the prestigious Los Angeles Academy of Music Summer School programme, and all his musician friends, aquaintances and well-wishers have put together a fundraising concert to help him find a portion of the $12,000 or so dollars it is going to take to get him there and back again.

To many of the hard-working, struggling musicians around these parts if this had just been some bloke looking for a sponsored trip to the states the bill for this event would have been empty, but as it turns out, it is full to the brim, featuring some of the best performers this area and some from out of town who know Joel - has to offer.

My view on this is that people cannot help but see the potential in this young individual, and wish they had had the same opportunity, and as they did not, are more than happy to help somebody they believe has the potential to excell, get there. (so you better come home with some SUGAR boy!)

I invited Joel up to jam with my band at a private function when he was about 12 years old, and if I hadn’t already had a good guitarist, I would have snapped him up then - at that age he was already more than capable.

I, along with my band Brilleaux, and all the amazing artists on the bill this coming Sunday sincerely wish Joel all the very best on the exciting adventure he is about to embark upon.

Tim Cooper, the organiser of this event (man this guy is awesome!) has said that “every single cent” made at this gig will go towards Joels mission, and The Colosseum have donated their time, all the cost of all the advertising, refreshments for the musicians, and who knows what else.

This is going to be a Sell-out concert, so if you don’t want to miss out, I suggest you purchase your ticket BEFORE then. It's going to be a wicked day - I can't wait!


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