On Monday night, Pete Ford, assistant professor of music, lit up Dawson with his

piano playing. He was accompanied by fellow players Alan Gleghorn of Cleveland’s
Swing City Big Band on the bass and electric guitar, conductor and recording studio
coordinator Elijah Vazquez on the drums, and his wife, saxophonist and clarinetist,
Shannon Ford, who finished up the night with smooth tunes on the saxophone. But it
took a lot for Ford to get to this point.
Growing up in West Terre Haute, Indiana, Ford had always been acquainted with
music. He followed his two older brothers, who played the electric bass guitar. His
brothers were the first people to spur him into the world of jazz music. He also
listened to songs from the Beatles back in the 70’s, but his favorite music came from
the jazz, rock and classical music mixes of Emerson Lake & Palmer, a classic rock
trio, that also inspired his music.
Due to arthritis in his left index finger, however, later on in his career as a bass
musician Ford found that he couldn’t play his brothers’ instrument as well as he
used to. Though he had this unfortunate ailment, his music performing days were
not over. Luckily, he’d already known how to play the piano, which he switched over
Ford has studied music for 15 years, and has played for people on numerous
occasions here and there. His range of experience reaches from wedding
performances to cruise ships, from bar bands to his performance Carnegie Hall
last year. It was all thanks to professor of music Thomas Hodgman who had asked
Ford join them in composing and performing at the concert. It was there that Ford
had extended his range of musical ability by performing in an orchestra, which he
stated that he had never done before; hereached even further in composing and
accompanying, with his piano, in his choral world premiere of Nahamasa- a song
dedicated to slave abolitionist Asa Mahan. His wife Shannon accompanied him on
the saxophone.
Ford gave the audience a broad spectrum of music of different cultures and
themes. Blue in Green centered on a more typical jazz style of blues music. He even
composed a piece of his own for the concert called Acceptance, which dealt with the
concept of reconciling and letting go of the past. This particular piece was inspired
by his reconciliation with the passing away of his two cats. There was also the piece
entitled Caravan composed by Portuguese musician Juan Tizol. Ford entertained
the audience every now and again with a little joke before each performance. About
the latter piece Ford said, “The next song we’re gonna play is called Caravan, it
should’ve been by Dodge.”
Everyone laughed at his jokes and were very pleased with his music. Susan Hoffman
a freshman heading toward a degree in linguistics thought the performance
was “fabulous”, comparing it to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Aubrey Selaty a
senior in Musical Theory said, “It’s great, I’ve been waiting for this ever since I heard
about it!”
After the performance, Elijah Vazquez stated, “it’s always great working with
Pete.” “And from all my experience, I’ve never played in such a reputable place as
this,” referring to the Dawson Auditorium. “I’m glad how Pete set this whole thing
up,” said Alan “the songs were spontaneous and it was organized really well.”
Indeed it was. This concert proved that if anyone can bring good quality jazz to
Adrian College, then it would Pete Ford.