This week our spotlight is on Ruth.
“Have you ever wondered what it would have been like to be a personal friend of Beethoven, or Mozart, or Bach? To live in the same time period as one of those great composers and interact with them on a regular basis? It would have been such a cool experience to hang out with them, watch them write and compose, learn their perspectives on life, play music with them, and a host of other everyday events. The music of these classical greats has been passed down through the ages. Though they are gone, they still manage to touch our lives through the notes they wrote down on a simple piece of paper.
“Fast forward, and permit me to introduce you to a group of current-day classical greats. The Kruger Brothers are Jens, on banjo, Uwe, on guitar, and their long-time friend, Joel who plays bass. Jens writes and arranges concertos and other forms of classical pieces for banjo, accompanied by any additional instruments he feels are neccessary to complete the piece.
“I have had the delight and blessing of becoming friends with them over the past few years, and sometimes I feel like I am hanging out with Bach or Mozart. I met them in the Opera House at Silver Dollar City, and at that point in my musical journey I was at a place where I was giving up on my music and couldn’t find a reason to keep playing. Following one of their concerts at SDC, Jens took me aside and spent quite a bit of time discussing the importance of music, the responsibility of being a musician, and what a magnificent opportunity it is to play music.
“Picture this in your mind: An empty 900 seat theater, with a giant stage. The acoustics are amazing. Every time a note is played it echoes and rings throughout the entire theater. You, together with two of your siblings, are standing at the front of the Theater with Jens Kruger. No one is talking, no one is making a sound when this phenomenal banjo player begins to quietly play, the Bach Cello Suite No.1 Prelude. Solo. No other instruments, just the banjo and the room. Very intentionally pulling out the drama of the notes by using just the right dynamics.
“I was floored by the beauty and intensity of it. I had tears of release and excitement flowing down my face. I couldn’t say anything. I can’t explain what happened to me that day, but it was as though a fire was rekindled inside of me. Suddenly I wanted to go home and play all the music I could think of. Every once in a while as a musician, we can lose that excitement, that drive to play music, which is one of many reasons why we attend the Kruger Brothers Music academy. Every time we have the opportunity to learn from them, we all come away as better musicians, better band members, and better people.
“We told you in last weeks Thursday Live that we were headed for North Carolina, and that is where we are this weekend, eager to learn more about music, to make music, and to understand music. Because when we understand it better we can communicate it better to all of you, and that is what matters most to us.”