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January 22, 2013

Gary Church: Need a guiro player? I may be able to help

NEW CASTLE — The First Baptist Church choir always runs through its songs before church starts on Sunday mornings.

One morning, we were going to sing a song with a Latin beat.

All of a sudden, First Baptist drummer extraordinaire Ken Stewart asked, "Who wants to play the guiro?"

I raised my hand and shouted like a little kid, "I do, I do!"

Without any other choir members volunteering, I got the job.

Sometimes I wonder why I do stuff.

In the first place, I had never heard of a guiro.

On top of that, I had no idea how to play one.

I can't even pronounce it.

Ken handed me the guiro, and gave me my one and only guiro lesson.

I appreciated the fact that he didn't charge me for it either.

For those unfamiliar with the instrument, it is usually made out of a hollow gourd.

The one Ken had was synthetic, but I didn't know the difference.

The edges are serrated, and you rub them with a stick, usually with a Latin beat.

In all my life, I never realized I was a natural guiro player, but I am.

With only one 20-second lesson, I played it in front of 632 people.

After the service I thought at least 25 or 30 people would ask for my autograph, but I'm sorry to report, that didn't happen.

I don't think anyone paid any attention to my guiro playing debut at all.

Someone told me once that if they like what you do, they will invite you to do it again.

Unfortunately, I haven't been invited to play the guiro since.

And I had such high hopes of being the guiro player in the Pittsburgh Symphony.

I guess it's back to the accordion.

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