Opinion Column

Parent finds musical connection

Leo Knight Prime Time Crime columnist 24 hours (PHOTO SUBMITTED).

By Leo Knight, Law and Order, 24 hours Vancouver

The Kennedy family performing in Victoria. (LEO KNIGHT)

The Kennedy family performing in Victoria. (LEO KNIGHT)

The media has been abuzz lately with stories about young folks dying at various music festivals across Canada. Parents were shocked their kids would be taking drugs. They were good kids, did well at school, and all that. 

The reality, I suspect, is most parents really didn’t know their kids. How else to explain the disconnect?

Too often, in this day and age, parents juggling busy schedules with working careers don’t actually participate in their kids’ lives. They interact with them to a point, but they don’t actually participate, hold them accountable for bad decisions, or teach them right from wrong. Some parents believe their kids can do no wrong. But they don’t really know.

But other parents really get involved with their kids. On the weekend, I was in Victoria’s harbour and was taken aback by one of the busker acts playing.

Caleb Kennedy, a professional musician, was playing with his daughter Autumn, 15, and son, Cairo, 12. They attracted an enthusiastic crowd as they wound their way through a repertoire that included everything from the Beatles to the Barenaked Ladies.

What struck me first was young Cairo, playing a stand-up bass fiddle that was a couple of feet taller than he stood. As I listened, what really came through was their passion as a family for what they were doing. They were good musically, with dad playing guitar and doing lead vocals, Autumn providing harmony and background vocals, and Cairo on that big bass fiddle. But their sense of loving what they were doing together was obvious.

They all have interests in music with their own bands and musical projects, but for the past three years they have come together to play most nights on the esplanade in the inner harbour. They had to audition to be able to get the licence needed to play there.

I asked Cairo how he came to play an instrument that was so much bigger that he was.

“I’m not allowed to have electronics down here,” he said. “We were trying to find a way I could play bass here and our friend had a stand-up bass. I tried it and I could play it.” And could he.

I then asked Caleb what it means as a dad to be performing with his kids.

“The fact that I get to perform with my kids is awesome. And the fact that they are doing so well — it feels great. I really couldn’t ask for a better situation. I feel really lucky”

Lucky? Perhaps. But I suspect his participation in their lives creates that luck.

Leo Knight is a former police officer, security expert and host of primetimecrime.com.  

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