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By Melissa Ford
There isn’t a nicer guy than Evan O’Brien; I’d say this - even if he didn’t donate his trumpet to PING! (a volunteer-run organization that provides band and orchestra instruments and music enrichment to low-income 4th - 12th grade students in School Districts 90, 97, and 200.) O’Brien is the Content Manager for OakPark.com and Ad Designer at Wednesday Journal as well as an accomplished trumpeter. Starting his illustrious career in fourth grade at Longfellow School, O’Brien’s regimented practice, supervised by the kitchen timer, honed his musical talents early on. Dedication and hard work propelled him into the OPRF High School Band, Jazz Band and Marching Band.
Then, O’Brien’s attention shifted from the trumpet to his #1 love - ART!
I recently met up with O’Brien, desiring more details on his esteemed trumpet career. He filled me in, “I really liked playing with other people - not solo. Music is social and it was a time to have fun with others.” Asking why he selected the trumpet, he replied, “It had three valves and that seemed simple. The clarinet or sax - those instruments freaked me out!”
When I first approached O’Brien about donating his trumpet to PING! he didn’t hesitate to say Yes!
Wondering whether he had any last minute reservations about giving up a part of his childhood, he responded, “I’m happy to donate it, but initially, I wasn’t sure how my girlfriend would feel.” Curiosity got the better of me. “Why would it bother your girlfriend?” I inquired. O’Brien explained, “A few years back, my girlfriend was dressing up as a traditional mariachi musician for Halloween so I offered her my trumpet to complete her costume. She asked me if I could play Feels So Good; you know that song by Chuck Mangione?” I nodded. “Well, I hadn’t played my trumpet in years, but I told her, ‘I think I know that tune.’ I picked up my trumpet and played the song perfectly,” O’Brien remembers, with a triumphant smile on his face.
Impressive! If a man with such musical brilliance would give up his trumpet, who else might be willing?
So, I took it one step further, “Can you recommend names of anyone else at Wednesday Journal who might want to donate an instrument to PING?” Mulling it over, O’Brien announced, “I can’t think of anyone with musical talent who owns an instrument and would be willing to donate it, however, I know a lot of people who aren’t musically inclined,” he laughed. “Take for instance, Dan Haley. I feel confident that Dan does not have one musical bone in his body, unless you count his constant whistling down the Wednesday Journal hallways. Otherwise, he’s really been holding out on us at the holiday parties.” Then, O’Brien had an inspiration. “How about Marc Stopek?! He has two pianos facing each other in his dining room. Give that second piano to a good cause; I mean, how many pianos does a guy need in his house?”
Based on this insider information, Dan or Marc - would you care to donate to PING!? A piano or say a handsome monetary gift? How about you, OakPark.com readers?
Take some action today by calling or emailing PING! and they’ll arrange for pickup. email@example.com or 708.524.5830 (x 7464) Or consider making a cash donation by send a check made out to PING! to P.O. Box 1963, Oak Park, IL 60304