OSCODA — Like many people approaching center age, Tom Erlenbaugh has set a aim for himself. He determined that after he was given a Casio keyboard and when he turned 50, he determined to study to play the piano himself.
All 4 of the older Erlenbaugh sisters had classes as youngsters, however none of them succeeded in studying the best way to play with chopsticks. Erlenbaugh, the final of seven youngsters, was born and raised in Indiana. By the point he requested for piano classes, his dad and mom had turn into annoyed with their youngsters taking piano classes and stated no.
Erlenbaugh got here to Oskoda to serve within the Air Pressure on the former Wurtsmith airbase. In 1983, he spent a complete 12 months three hours a day studying the best way to play the bass guitar. After leaving the serviceHe taught himself the best way to play, grew his hair lengthy, and joined a heavy steel band.
“Everybody needed to be rock stars, to be forward of the curve, so changing into a bassist was simple,” he stated.
Since then, Erlenbaugh has performed in lots of bands, and through the years has been a member of grounded, a band by which he nonetheless performs bass guitar. Taking part in bass in bands for 30 years, he had an ear for music that made it simple for him to study to play the piano.
“I’ve a whole bunch of songs in my library,” he stated, pointing to his head.
Now aged 60 and with a shaved head, Erlenbaugh might be seen enjoying the piano a number of nights per week at Tait’s Bar and Grill on Dwight Road in downtown Oscoda.
Though Invoice Tait, the proprietor of Tait’s, was initially hesitant to let him play, Erlenbaugh has been a daily on the bar for the previous 5 years, the place he performs out of sheer love of music and suggestions. He was very excited when Tate not too long ago tuned the piano.
Erlenbaugh accepts requests spanning a number of many years and musical genres. He can play blues, jazz, nation, up to date Christian, simple listening, traditional rock and honky tonk.
“The honky-tonk hides when the piano is out of tune,” he stated. Blues and nation are the simplest to play as a result of they’re just about primarily based on three chords,” he stated.
Given his 30 years of bass enjoying expertise, he was advised by classically skilled pianists that he performs the piano like a guitar. He solely performs songs utilizing decrease octaves. Erlenbaugh describes himself as a “pianist”, a “horrible singer” and as somebody with a “tin ear” however a terrific sense of rhythm.
Erlenbaugh’s favourite genres of music that he performs on the piano embrace jazz and blues. Along with performing music written by others, Erlenbaugh has 4 unique songs that he wrote for piano. “Flat Bag”“ reminds him of a wet Monday and makes use of B flat, A flat and G flat chords. “Nod to the Massive Band Period” is paying homage to massive band songs from the Nineteen Thirties and Nineteen Forties. A few of his unique compositions stay untitled.
On Saturday nights, Erlenbaugh might be discovered on the Methodist Church in downtown Oskoda, the place he performs bass with Tones of the world. He likes to play the piano in church. Erlenbaugh may also be discovered enjoying the piano on the Shoreline Theatre, Oscoda Senior Heart, Oscoda Villages Clubhouse and sometimes on the Bavarian Bakery. He appreciates that every piano sounds somewhat totally different and suits the music he performs, the piano sound.
Erlenbaugh credit Invoice Rudolph, who conducts the Methodist Church’s worship band, for difficult him to turn into a greater pianist.