When you drive for Luxury Transportation, you never know where the road will take you. As a driver, you have the right to take a job or turn it down. Since this job required multiple pick-ups at XNA and taking the passengers to the Jones Center in Springdale, I almost said give it to another driver, but it was a charitable event, so we needed to keep the pricing at a minimual.
My first passenger was Timothy Hall (Tim), Production Manager/Audio engineer with Production One. Let’s call Tim the go-to man because he had it all together as to what was taking place. Tim was there to control the overall production of the gig and make sure everyone was on time.
Now it’s back to the Airport for trip number two. My next set of instructions was to pick up four guys named John, Marcus, Kirk, and Nathaniel and take them to the gig. I made out my greeting board to say John Stoddart because he was just the first name on my list.
A couple of guys just had carry-on bags, but two had to wait at the baggage claim. Trying to help, I noticed that one of the bags from the baggage carosel looked round with a flat bottom. I looked at the man getting the bag off the carosel and said you must be the drummer. I received a positive answer and said I’m sure those are your Cymbals. He replied no, that is my shield because I’m Mister America. Okay, so I have now met Marcus Finnie, AKA Mister America. In the case was his Zildjian cymbals, or to a drummer, his shield.
Now back to Springdale, and then a few minutes to fuel and get ready to go back for the last person, Andrea Lisa Groenewald.
Now I know the guys will be reading this blog, and I hope they do, but here is my star. Andrea Lisa Groenewald the lady of the group. I noticed an accent, and I just asked where you are from; she told me she was born in South Africa but raised in New Zealand. The two of us talked almost the whole way back to Springdale as she told me the story of the group and the relationship they had together.
I was in total shock at who I had just picked up.
John Stoddart Grammy-nominated | Producer | Recording Artist | Songwriter | Musician | Educator. He plays the piano.
Marcus Finnie Mister America … Drums | Pearl, Sticks | Vic Firth | Cymbals | Zildjian | Dampenings | Drumdots
Nathaniel Kearnry Jr. Lead Guitar | Watch this clip from Ellen, and you will see Nathaniel in the background on guitar.
As defined by Merriam-Webster, Last but not least.
Kirk Whalum, this is where this story will blow you away. As I said earlier, my star Andrea Lisa shared so much with me on the way from XNA back to Springdale. I knew about most of the guys, but one was quiet, and this was Kirk.
Who is Kirk Whalum? Songwriter | Singer | Compossor | Musician | Grammy Award Winner| How about all of the above?
Never heard of him? Neither had I until that ride back from XNA. I would like to hold this as a mystery because those who know me know I love a good mystery. Kirk got in the vehicle with a small case that I assumed was a violin, but that didn’t fit. It was as if the case was filled with gold or loads of cash. What was in that case? It has been said that clothing can make the man, but sometimes the man makes the clothing work. I just made part of that up, but now you’re going to see what I mean.
I’m going to now give you a hint. You have heard this man probably many times, maybe not by his voice but by the sound he creates. He toured for seven years with a woman that had the best-selling single by a female artist. When I met Kirk, he asked me if I knew what the name “Kirk” met in Northern English. It means “Church,” I think that was pretty proper a day before Easter.
Now you need to CLICK HERE to hear Kirk Whalum and be as shocked as me.
If you read this all the way through, remember, “I will always love you.”
Special thanks go out to Timothy Hall and Andrea Lisa Groenewald for helping me learn about this group.