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My drum students are some of the most courageous people I know. As we approach the eve of our Winter drum recitals (Feb. 10th and 11th), 34 of them are preparing to drum from the heart.
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It’s always scary when we do something we have never done before or navigate our boat into personally uncharted waters. I believe it’s even scarier when we really care about and love what we do.
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Even though we may be afraid, it’s almost as if a kind of “Force Awakens” inside telling us, “You need to do this!”
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Each of the 34 students who will perform do so because they care about drumming and their excitement for drumming is greater than their fear of failure.
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This is the call that 34 of my students will heed on Wednesday and Thursday night at 6:30pm at Iolani School. It’s a kind of drumming destiny!
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My students’ drive to learn drums has inspired me immeasurably over the past 15 years. After teaching tens of thousands of drum lessons, they have given ME the courage to take the plunge and expand my teaching online.

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The DRUMMING4LIFE method has worked great with hundreds of students in private lessons over the years.  Now I’m ready to reach many more lives and help turn drumming dreams into realities!
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Thanks so much for reading my blog. Let’s get ready for some drumming FUN! Hope to see you at the recitals!

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Happy 2016 and I hope your year is off to a superb beginning! I was marinating on the concept of Social Media today and had this revelation (I’m sure I’m not the first) that the once widely held premise that everyone person on Earth is separated only by 6 other people might have actually been transformed by Social Media.

As of January 2016, at least 2 billion of us (currently using some form of Social Media), are probably only separated by 3-4 people and this number is likely to drop further as Social Media grows in both use and influence.

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Well that’s a lot of fancy words to say, WE ARE GETTING CONNECTED!  I recently fired up all of my Social Media platforms in hopes of better reaching my fan friends, aspiring drummers, drum hobbyists and appreciators of drumming throughout the world. My hope is that my posts will entertain and inspire you and maybe even get you excited about DRUMMING!

Thanks in advance for the opportunity to connect and please feel free to contact me at any (Or even ALL!) of the profile links below.  Looking forward to seeing you at other Social Media neighborhoods!  I hope you have a wonderful day! –Von

Twitter: @vonbaron

Instagram: Von.Baron

Facebook: Von Baron

Google+: Von Baron

Linkedin: Von Baron

YouTube: Von Baron

 

I hope as you read this, you are having a terrific day wherever you are in the World. In 15 + years of teaching hundreds of drum students, I have learned much about the human spirit and will to persevere.  My drum students inspire me everyday when they show up to drum lessons ready to grow both mentally and physically (drumming is a little bit coordination intensive :)) to levels they previously thought they couldn’t.  It’s kind of like blindly going to do something and not knowing how you’re going to get there other than with the instructor guiding your path.  I have students from all ages and walks of life and they all share a common purpose in taking drum lessons, to have fun playing drums!

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Learn to play drums by clicking on this picture for more information about online drum lessons!

In the past couple of years, I have learned a lot about our brains and how we best acquire new information. It seems the key to learning, is being relaxed and enjoying the experience. I sometimes encounter new students who are nervous at lessons because they are afraid to make mistakes or students who have had past negative music instruction experiences. Whether we set out to learn drums, to drive a car, learn a new math formula or learn how to cook pasta with Alfredo sauce, we will learn it much faster if we are enjoying ourselves. When we are relaxed, all of the learning centers in your brains open up allowing us full access to the the world’s most awesome computing power between our ears.

So how can drumming change your life? I’ll tell you. I have seen my students grow their confidence so much that they overcome enormous personal struggles replacing depression, anxiety and unhappiness with unprecedented joy, confidence and excitement for life. Students, who when they came to me, had a low self-image and didn’t believe in themselves, their ability to play drums or that they could take control of their lives. After about a year of lessons, big things began to shift and they were back in the driver seat of their life calling the shots and heading in a direction that made them happy.

Please know I’m not tooting my horn here or saying that I’m some kind of psychotherapist drum instructor. I don’t think my instruction experience is exclusive as other music instructors have witnessed these same results in their students. What I simply want to share, is that when we provide a learning environment for our students whether we are a music or Math teacher or a driving or cooking instructor, our students will grow at exponential speeds if we are kind, nurturing and supportive of them on their learning journey. If we can provide lots of laughs, smiles, goofy moments and embrace the “perfect” imperfections of  learning, students’ confidence and self-esteem will have a chance to grow. After all, isn’t that why we teach?  That’s why I love it so much!

 

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One of my heroes from childhood. I just found The A-Team on Netflix. “I love it when a plan comes together.”
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On the Hawaii News Now morning show. Waiting for their cue. Look it’s newscaster Grace Kim’s dog Wookie!
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Wookie didn’t like Tim’s Tsukiyama’s playing that much but sure enjoyed his tummy rub.
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Now that’s a car with character and personality!
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On my daily walk I discovered this. Does it look like a gorilla to you?
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Move along ducky…
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Upper School at Iolani had a “No Name-Calling Week” and students put up their own posters to promote the theme. Yay!
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I guess Dan Del Negro wants to diversify his instrument portfolio.
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My friend from childhood. It’s a mask from Mexico. Now it hangs on my wall 🙂
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Mark Tanouye and his new bike. We drove out to Makaha to pick it up. Now he can sling his bass on his back and off he goes to gigs!
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Performed with these awesome human beings at the Halekulani Lewers Lounge. From left to right, John Kolivas, Rockford Holmes, Eddie Henderson (the Jazz trumpeting legend), yours truly and Dan Del Negro. What a magical evening and Eddie brought all of our playing up to the next level.
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Saw this the other day while driving. I just love Hawaii!

 

 

 

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Hey it’s Kapono Beamer! I was in a recording session with he and Gerhard Narholz from Sonoton at Island Sound Studios. It’s always so wonderful to work with Kapono. In addition to his musical gifts, he is a warm and positive person and an incredible real estate agent! You can also see Bryan Tolentino in the background on Ukulele. He was tearing it up!
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Here I am with Kapono and Gerhard Narholz at the console. Gerhard is the owner of Sonoton Music in Munich, Germany and gets my music placed in multi-media projects around the globe. Such a gifted man in both music and business. We were recording tracks to arrangements of songs that he and Kapono had put together.
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My dear friend and mentor Noel Okimoto was also on the session playing mallet percussion and other hand percussion. Always a real professional and an inspiration to work with!
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Bryan Kessler warming up for the session. I don’t get to work with this guy enough. I am always impressed with his 6-string skills!
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Woah! So many basses and only two hands. You do the math! Yes Dean Taba is a genius. Groovy and fun to play with as usual!
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Yaaaa, you know what I’m sayin’? The ever positive Dan Del Negro aka “The One Take Wonder.” I think I’ve only heard him hit 3 wrong notes in the 14 years I’ve been playing with him!
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Here I am with Gaylord Holomalia of Island Sound Recording Studio who is also from the world famous band Kalapana. He did a superb job of engineering our session!
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Yours truly sitting in my favorite chair!
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A little plug 🙂
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Built by the Avex Record Company in Japan some years ago, this space is incredible with suites like a hotel. Recently Dr. Dre and his crew laid down some tracks here.
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Wow what a view!
And they have a foosball table!
And they have a foosball table! Noel and Dean were clearly in a league of their own. I wasn’t about to get in the middle of that match!
Many thanks to my drum student and LMU student Cameron Kuwada for swapping bass drums with me for my recording session!
Many thanks to my drum student and LMU student Cameron Kuwada for swapping bass drums with me for my recording session!

 

 

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This place never gets any less beautiful!
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Are you sure we should eat here?
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Coconuts anyone?
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View from one of my gigs! Playing music gets me into some of the most incredible places!
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The new “Kit Ebersbach” speaker stand! Only $19.95 plus shipping and handling. So lifelike!
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One of my heroes!
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We are a bunch of clowns really, music is just our front. With Betty Loo Taylor and Steve Loo!
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Roy Yamaguchi and Denise Hayashi at their annual Food and Wine Festival at the Aulani! Roy is a good drummer you know?!
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The performing arts visionary Wayne DeMello. Such a joy and honor to work with this man at Iolani School!
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One of the most energetic, positive and enthusiastic people I know, Reid Sagawa and I co-instruct for 4th-6th grade L.E.A.D. program and 7th Grade Life Skills class at Iolani!
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Fantastic piano instructor Ryoko Oka (on stage) organized this amazing recital for her students at Medici’s in the Manoa Marketplace. Here I was accompanying her student Carter Nakamoto (in blue) and his sister Nicole and mom Margaret (to his right).
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Here my drum student Kaela demonstrates that her dog really did eat her drum homework!
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My student Summer learning the ropes in how to play cymbals. Building those muscles!
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My student Lima rehearsing with the pros! Dan Del Negro, Arex Ikehara, Robert Shinoda and Jeannette Trevias all supported my drum students to deliver stellar performances at our annual concert! Thanks guys!
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Here we are at the annual drum concert! My student Carsten is on the drums and knocking ’em dead with his drumming and perfect hair!
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The concert was well attended and has always been a great partnership with Ward Warehouse to host this event each year.
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Played a really fun flute recital with Ji Hyun Rossi (second from right) at UH. Also joined by Mark Tanouye (far right) on bass and Megumi san (next to me) on piano. Her instructor is Sabrina Saiki-Mita (center). Great job Ji Hyun!
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Played my annual gig with visiting San Diego Jazz vocalist Allison Adams Tucker and Tommy James on piano. Was great fun as usual and Allison’s tunes and voice captivated the audience!
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Band photo!
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Thinking of my Grandma who loved to play Majong!

 

Aloha and I hope your September was filled with warm memories that will last a lifetime. I just returned from my trip to Japan performing with the legendary Jazz clarinetist Yoshimas Kasai and an all-star band that included Hawaii’s very own John Kolivas on bass.  John and I performed two exciting concerts with Mr. Kasai and made a bunch of new friends! Many thanks to everyone in Japan who made us feel at home taking care of many details so we could concentrate on playing our best. Looking so forward to seeing you all again!

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On the plane to Japan. Just got over a cold so I didn’t want to catch something else on the way!
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One of my drum students at Berklee College of Music just hipped me to this album and I found it on my flight. Love Hiromi’s piano playing and arrangements.
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Some of my new best friends in Japan; Masa, Keisuke, Mie, Kumi and Tadashi! Thank you so much for taking good care of us!
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The visionary Yoshimasa Kasai. Not only an incredible Jazz musician but also a big heart and inspiring to be around. Domo arigato gozaimasu Kasai san and to his wife Toshiko san for all of your hard work to make this dream a reality!
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Night view from my hotel room in Shin-Yokohama (New Yokohama).
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Our hotel. Swanky ne?
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The best egg invention since…well…eggs! It’s called an egg turnover and it was oishi (delicious)!
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Another view of our hotel lobby.  That train looking thing in the bottom of the picture is the cab of a bullet train (Shinkansen). It was a simulator for the kiddies.
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Train layout in the hotel lobby! I grew up building several train layouts and this N-Gauge layout was spectacular!
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Future National Geographic photographer at Bic Camera.
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So many iPhone cases…so little time!
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Best massage chairs in the world!
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Liquid energy for the first concert at Minato Mirai Hall in Yokohama.
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Minato Mirai Hall – Yokohama
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Getting warmed up for the concert.
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Now that’s just plain silly!
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IMG_2939 John Kolivas and I with Jazz pianist Hajime Kobayashi. This guy is a wonderful pianist and oh boy did we have fun! Above I am with Hajime san and fantastic trumpeter Nobuaki Komori.
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The Yoshimas Kasai Quartet! Great music and an incredibly enthusiastic crowd made for one heartwarming and fulfilling evening.
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Flower arranging in Japan is truly and art form. This bouquet was so beautiful that I had to make sure it got a good home and gave it to Keisuke’s mom.
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And here is Keisuke’s Oka san (Mother). Lovely flowers for a lovely lady.
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View from breakfast looking down on Shin-Yokohama (New Yokohama).
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With our translators Naoki (left), Daisaku and Manami! They were so kind and wonderful to be around.
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Stop!…Shikansen time! MC Hammer ain’t got nothin’ on the bullet train.
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Daisaku and Minami on the Shinkansen.
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John, Naoki (eating one of my business cards) and…what Daisaku again!
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On the way to Tokyo TUC for our second concert!
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A quick look at Akihabara or “Electric Town.”  This is the comic book, video game, everything electric part of Tokyo.
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Photo of Hajime san warming up at Tokyo TUC.
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John warming up at Tokyo TUC.
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IMG_3066IMG_2994 Warming up at Tokyo TUC.
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I guess all air conditioning repairmen in Japan are skinny.
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John and I with the owner of Tokyo TUC. Such a kind man who books some of the best Jazz musicians from around the world nightly. What an honor to perform at his club!
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Trumpeter Kiyotaka Soga who performed with us at Tokyo TUC. Great player! He is showing me his suit bag that comes with every suit you purchase in Japan.
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Chinese food after the Tokyo TUC concert. On the TV in the background they are showing the volcanic eruption in Nagano that occurred that same day.
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On my last trip to Japan, bassist Mark Tanouye nicknamed me Gyozilla because I ate so much gyoza. I simply had to live up to my name!
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Saying goodbye at the train station after dinner. Hope to see them all again very soon!
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Tadashi san and his wife Kumi. He is Kasai san’s son and drummer too!
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Japanese TV is so entertaining and informative! This was a competition in using those arcade machines that pick up prizes. Never knew there were people out there refining their skills in such games. Watch out arcades everywhere!
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My hybrid Japanese/American breakfast. What wonderful food every morning. I miss that so much!
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Another view from breakfast.
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An artisan at work.
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Did someone say shopping?!!
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Waiting to hit the shops on the next floor.
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With Keisuke and Mie on our last day. Keisuke san also performed superbly with us on Cornet and Trumpet!
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Kawaii ne? So cute ya? Getting ready to drive the Shinkansen simulator.
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Here we go!
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With Kasai san on our last day.
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Now this hot food box takes delivery to another level!
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Picture perfect day in the Tokyo area.
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One thing I noticed throughout the Tokyo area were these yellow tiles on the sidewalks and walkways for blind residents to find their way through the city. Very nice 🙂
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Don’t know who he is but he looks like he’d crush any baseballs within a 5 mile radius!
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Okay we can’t be too serious now…
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Great name! Japan takes things we know and love and makes them better!
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McDonald’s delivery in Japan! Now if we had this in the US, people wouldn’t have to move at all to get their artery clogging McCholesterol….just sayin’.
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Makes sense that this is right next to the McDonald’s….just sayin’.
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I want one! I want one!
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Heading to the airport to fly home. Boy I can’t wait to come back again. I love you Japan!
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The flower arrangement in the hotel lobby. Breathtaking…

Aloha and I hope you have had a chance to relax this August before the hustle and bustle of the Fall season begins! I recently traveled to Kansas City and Springfield, MO and Seattle, WA and wanted to share some moments from my trip.

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A man in the Salt Lake City Airport talking on his cell phone in a pay phone booth! LOL!
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Why can’t we all just get along?
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I love the expanse of the Midwest! You can see for miles. Growing up there I took it for granted and thought it was boring but now it’s awe inspiring.
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Love the country!
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Made some friends on a walk!
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I think this pretty much sums up the meaning of life.
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If only I was a girl…
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Driving my new boat up to the check stand at Bass Pro Shops 🙂
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OMG! Breathtaking!
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Land anyone? Hmmm how much would that cost in Hawaii???
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Looks good enough to eat! They have a machine that makes bales of hay like this for the livestock during the winter months.
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World famous BBQ! Went there before the Kansas City Royals baseball game!
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Royals Stadium just like I remembered it as a kid!
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Learning to play Croquet in Seattle! Look there’s the sun!
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The most amazing drum shop in the Seattle area for sure. It’s a must for every drummer for every visit!
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So many cymbals and so little time!
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One of the great Elvin Jones, drumsets! OMG!!!!
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Hangin’ with my dear friends Eduardo Ana Paula Mendonça. Eduardo’s one of my Brazilian music mentors and an incredible guitarist and singer living in the Seattle area.
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I got to play a gig with Eduardo like old times with his fantastic Brazilian band Show Brazil! I played, recorded and toured with Show Brazil for several years before moving to Hawaii in 2000.
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Jeff “Bongo” Busch! He’s actually an incredible percussionist/drummer and we played together in Show Brazil! Got to sit in at his gig and watch him shred on them drums. Such a ham!
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Home of the world’s most incredible Gyros in the heart of Northeast Seattle!
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Abdul (center) and the gang at Aladdin.
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The night I came home we went out for sushi. Just couldn’t find good sushi on the Mainland and one of the many reasons I am so happy to come home!