I was going through music selecting repertoire for a piano student and this picture fell out of a book. The picture is from 1983 (I was 17 years old). Pictured from left to right is Christopher Possanza (Synthesizer), Doug deBruyn (Upright Bass) and Conrad Askland (Harpsichord).
This photo was taken in the sanctuary of St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Bellevue, WA – 1983. We were preparing to play a Purcell Trumpet Voluntary as special music for a Sunday church service. Chris and Doug were two of my best friends in High School. I haven’t spoken with Doug since High School and only once with Chris in the last 20 years via email.
The three of us took music theory classes together at Interlake High School. Doug and I played together in the jazz band and marching bands. We also attended music composition seminars and did all the fun crazy things that should be done in high school, most of which are not appropriate to blog publicly about (which means it was very, very fun.)
Chris Possanza was lead singer for the Seattle band “This Busy Monster”, and is also one of the founders of Barsuk Records in Seattle, WA. His label is best known for producing the Seattle band “Death Cab for Cutie”. I’m sure both of them have had many more adventures the past twenty years, but those are the only ones I know of.
Of course this picture has a story to it. Originally we had a trumpet player to play the Purcell piece for that Sunday’s service. A couple days before Sunday, the trumpet player cancelled out on us. If I remember right he had never been in a church before and the thought of playing in a sanctuary really freaked him out.
Some things never change, of course the performance of this piece was the entire world to me and had to happen. So I called my friend Chris who owned a Prophet V Synthesizer to play the trumpet part. Back in 1983 synthesizers were pretty rare, especially the Prophet V. It was kind of like having the first tv set in the neighborhood. We spent many hours at Chris’ house experimenting with sounds and wishing we had done what Walter Carlos had accomplished with Switched on Bach (ok, I’m dating myself now.)
So Chris played the trumpet parts on his Prophet V synth along with a real upright bass, and a real harpsichord (which I got to tune, that was very fun.) The piece was played well and embellishments were executed properly for the Baroque style.
It was not intentional, but it may be one of the earliest uses of the Prophet V synthesizer in a liturgical setting. If memory serves me correctly there were a few people that did not feel a synthesizer was appropriate in church under any conditions. But overall it was received well.
You can make fun of my pink shirt. You can make fun of the animal prints on my sweater. But we give you fair warning not to question the reverence of our synthesizer patches. We are armed with MIDI. We will win.