From there we headed up to meet a former English teacher of Calliandra's, Chris Chesbro. Chris has volunteered at Bethel and formed a bond with our daughter and her two best friends. Thanks to mutual friends, Chris and I have been in sporadic email contact. He let me know that he would be in town and we made plans to meet. Up until this point, I had no idea what exactly he did. I found out, he's in charge of all Steven Curtis Chapman's 12 or more guitars, tuning them correctly for the different songs.
We met Chris at DTE music theatre, an outdoor venue less than 5 miles from Bill's work. Chris took Acer and me backstage during sound check. It was very loud, but Acer was enthralled, especially with the drums. I actually covered his ears with my hands while they played. You could feel the music vibrating through your ribs and lungs though, don't think I've ever been that close to raw music. Chris showed us a few pictures he'd taken of Calliandra and then asked if Acer wanted to play the drums (Silly question). Acer said yes, and then, a few minutes later asked me if he'd be playing with Drumsticks (drum and sticks are a double bonus).
The sound check died down and Chris asked Drummer Chris Kimmerer (of SONICFLOOD) if Acer could sit on his lap. Chris K nicely said yes, and handed Acer his drumsticks. I think he was rather amazed as Acer started tapping out a pretty decent beat. If I were a drummer and someone handed me a three and a half year old blind child, I think I'd expect random flailing, not a beat, and not reaching out to find the cymbals with his drumsticks. Steven Curtis Chapman (SCC from now on) was approaching, and Chris K said "He's going to play for you in Dallas next week". I'd like to note that Acer looked appropriately cool with his Bono - esque goggles on, very rocking!
SCC then came over, extended his hand and introduced himself. I expressed my sorrow for his loss (of daughter Maria in May), he asked when Acer had come home with us, and then we talked paperwork. Because of his connection with Chris Chesbro, and because the Bethel Choir sang with SCC at one or more concerts in China, SCC knew exactly whom we were talking about. He's adopted three girls from China himself, so he's very familiar with the paperwork involved with assembling a dossier.
Acer then happily climbed down off the drum stage, clutching a pair of Chris Kimmerer signature drumsticks. Yes, Chris K. gave him his very own set, Acer was overjoyed. As Acer was showing me them I asked him if he could 'Thomas Lang' them. Thomas Lang is one of our favorite Youtube drummers and his starts one video with a long set of drumstick tricks. Chris K. looked surprised at this statement, obviously recognizing the name, and I explained that Acer listened to MANY drum videos and named Acer's main favorite, Tony Royster Jr. Chris K. seemed impressed at this and said "he's really serious about this then" about Acer. (Yes, Acer's serious, we envision drums coming home this winter as a combined Birthday/Christmas present.) Chris K. Said he didn't have any videos on youtube, and I didn't find any, but I hope he gets some there soon, we'd like to see and listen to them.
We had to go then, and decided to travel up to see Bill and show him the new drumsticks. Acer was so excited he kept hitting them together all the way there - Thomas Lang - watch out! It was too bad we couldn't stay to see the concert, it would have been great, but Thursday night is our night to talk to Calliandra and that rates higher in importance than the concert.
The pictures are of Chris Chesbro and Calliandra together in China.