Locals appreciate freedom of sharing music for Fourth of July


Francis Scott Key wrote the words to what later became known as “The Star-Spangled Banner” while witnessing a War of 1812 battle in 1814.

That came to mind when Wayne Deaton was asked what the freedom of sharing music means to him.

“When we are at our lowest, we’re going to sing. When we’re at our highest, we’re going to sing,” he said. “It’s just true. Each person has a song. It’s in your DNA, I think.”

It’s a language that transcends politics, religion, racism and other cultural barriers, he said.

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“A musician can walk up and just start playing and not even know the language I speak with my mouth, but I can have a conversation, and it’s usually a deeper conversation than just words,” he said. “Music, it goes way down in there.”

On Tuesday night, the Crothersville man had another opportunity to share music while performing with U4ia Band to close out the inaugural Brownstown Summer Concert Series at Heritage Park.

The band has only been together for six months, and the four members make the most of every opportunity they have to share music.

“It means a lot, especially now that I’m older,” Deaton said. “I realize that hands wear out, voices wear out, and as one would get older, I think it becomes more special because you know that you only have a certain amount of shows left in you.

“This is what I do for a living, so that’s another thing that weighs on my mind is just like, ‘What am I going to do after this?’” he said. “But right now, I’m giving the public what I feel that I was destined to do — music and songs.”

Jennifer Price of Vallonia, the group’s lead vocalist, said she was raised on southern gospel Christian music and church, and she sang with Amy Grant, The Cathedrals, The Kingsmen and Gaither Vocal Band.

“My mother said that I was born singing, and I’ll die singing,” she said. “It has just been a part of my life.”

The Columbus native said the opportunity to get onstage and share her talents with other musicians and the community means a lot.

“Passion goes as deep as your soul when it comes to this type of stuff,” she said. “I consider it an honor to share the platform with these guys and consider it an honor just to stand here in Brownstown with the people that I work with and my neighbors and my friends. There’s nothing like that. There are no words to truly describe it, and the fact that we live in a country where we’re free and we can do something like this, it’s a phenomenal thing.”

Whether she’s singing onstage or serving as a teacher’s aide at Brownstown Elementary School, Price gives it her all.

“If I can do something that would bring joy to somebody or impact their life in any way, it’s a blessing for me,” she said.

Performing Tuesday night also was special to the band’s other two members, bass guitarist Levi Pfaffenberger of Seymour and drummer Gary Back of Livonia.

Even with rain showers that moved through before the show and the heat, people still came out to hear the music, Pfaffenberger said.

“It’s great to see people come out and still support us. It means a lot,” he said. “I think a lot of people really support local bands and musicians, and that’s really great to see that, and to have a venue like this, it’s really nice. I’m very honored to play with the people I play with and I’m close to. I really enjoy it. It’s a lot of fun.”

Back said he has been into music since he was 16 and is glad he can still be a part of it.

“It’s just a part of me, part of my life,” the 64-year-old said. “Just to share an experience with the other band members and try to entertain people, I’m just lucky to be able to still play.”

On the afternoon of the Fourth of July, the annual Music in the Park, presented by the Seymour Parks and Recreation Department and This Old Guitar Music Store, was conducted at Shields Park in Seymour.

It was an opportunity for four young musicians to showcase their talents.

Molly Hayes and Lela Hendley, both of Seymour, were asked by This Old Guitar owner Larry McDonald to perform for the second year in a row.

“It’s really great because music is one of my favorite things in the world, and being able to express the songs that I like in front of people and maybe expose them to different types of music that they haven’t heard before really means a lot to me,” said Hayes, who is heading to Indiana University in the fall.

“I’m just so thankful for him because if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be able to do anything like this,” said Hendley, a sophomore at Brownstown Central High School. “It brings everybody together because my friends came to see me, and my cousins from Greenwood came to see me.”

Performing at the event for the first time were Gabby Murphy of Seymour and Gage Mull of Vallonia.

Murphy, a sophomore at Trinity Lutheran High School, received a guitar for Christmas and began taking lessons about four months ago.

While she said performing in public for the first time was terrifying, she settled into it.

“Now, I feel relieved afterwards because I was scared in the beginning,” she said. “I won’t be as scared to go out and sing or do guitar or whatever it is anymore. Ever since I was little, I’ve always loved music, so it just helps to express it.”

Mull, a fifth-grader at Brownstown Elementary School, was joined onstage by his father, Travis Mull. Both played electric guitars, and Gage sang, too.

Their other appearance together was recently at the Seymour Area Farmers Market.

“I really like doing it, and ever since I started playing guitar two years ago, I’ve always wanted to, so pretty much every time I get a chance, I usually take it if I can,” Gage said.

He said he likes being able to play with his dad.

“We’re equal partners in this,” Gage said.

As far as the pay for the gigs, Travis quickly said, “60/40,” with a smile.

On a serious note, Gage said he appreciates McDonald letting him perform.

“It makes me feel that someone’s actually listening to the way I play,” he said. “I enjoy doing this. I’m glad I get to do it, and I’m just glad someone’s actually listening to me.”

Travis said it’s exciting to watch his son play.

“He’s so passionate about playing the guitar,” he said. “It’s just priceless to be standing up there with him.”

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