Behind the Music: Live Life


August 2008, our last year of camp as campers

It was probably one of our prouder moments in high school, for really our grade had spent the majority of our years being like a middle school dance (in that it was split in half between guys and girls).  Except for a couple instances and people, the girls were usually busy being mature, and us guys were not busy and just being immature.  Talk about being from two separate planets.  We never really did anything for the girls in our grade.

There’s kind of an unspoken tradition that the senior guys will usually do something as appreciation for the senior girls at camp.  Though, for the senior classes before us, it seemed it was on the girls’ part to make something happen.  Our girls had already assumed the worst coming up the mountain.  They had given us gifts and even assigned secret sisters to give us encouragement notes throughout the week.  As far as they knew, the guys had no intention of doing anything extravagant.  But really, who could blame them?


About a week and a half before camp, I got a call from Caleb (because texting wasn’t big yet).  He was telling me of how he and Marty were brainstorming our senior performance/gift.  To no one’s surprise, he wanted to cover Coldplay’s Viva La Vida.  It was his favorite song and every time he turned on a radio, it would magically be playing.  We obviously wanted to keep it on the down low, and for simplicity’s sake, we kept this as a Clan WumboQ-only operation.  After all, some of us were already serving in Youth Worship and/or Super Worship.

“But do we have enough for a band?”  I asked Caleb.

Marty was already a great guitarist, heralded for teaching himself in middle school.  A natural worship leader, his role as lead guitar was locked in.  Stu, over time, grew in his skills as a drummer despite being so unconfident in his early years.  But really he was the only drummer, so we were set with him.  Caleb had been spending many of his Summer days re-honing his piano skills.  He had been youtubing how to play certain songs (aside from Viva La Vida, he learned Apologize and Requiem For a Dream, to name a couple).  He was the clear choice for the keyboard.  To keep with the Coldplay-esque feel, we decided we wanted Matt to just be the vocal lead.  I certainly wasn’t going to bring my violin up (though I thought about it), so where does that leave me?

“You’re going to learn the Bass” He said with confidence.

I had been toying with the idea to learn it over the past year, but never really got around to it.  But to learn it in a matter of days?  I had to be crazy or extremely musically talented…

Oh wait.  I am musically talented!

In all seriousness though, I did pick it up pretty quickly.  Marty gave me a crash course and with my prior knowledge of guitar and violin plucking, I familiarized myself with the bass fast.  To be fair though, all I really had to play was the same 8 count riff you hear in the background of the song over and over again.

So we had our band.  Though Marty initially came up with some good lyrics, he didn’t have time to complete it, so Caleb and I put some finishing touches to it.  Matt and Stu weren’t initially on board with all this, but after some convincing, they agreed.  Matt really didn’t want to sing, he kept trying to play the bass and have me be the lead vocal instead.  Stu wasn’t a fan of some of the cheesy lyrics.  We only really got a couple run-throughs of the song before camp.  It would have to do.

Camp came around, and the rest of the guys in our grade were convinced we weren’t doing anything for the girls either.  Some did their own little thing on the side, but really we were kind of lame like that.  It was pretty hard keeping it a secret.  We even snuck in a sound check the night before thanks to our good connection Nick.  On Thursday, we played it off like we wanted to do something, anything, for the girls.  We convinced all the guys to serve them for Thursday’s meals as some act of appreciation.  Meanwhile, Caleb and I wrote a poem during rest time to present to the girls that night.  Matt also wrote a letter that he would read to the girls to encourage them.  As far as the senior guys, senior girls and our counselors knew, that’s all we were going to do.  We eventually revealed our intentions to the rest of guys at the last minute, because we needed their help for the “8!” part.

It worked out nicely.  We came out in style and read our poem, a line for each senior guy.  Then Matt went down to read his letter.  At this point the girls were kind of like “oh.. that’s nice I guess”

And then Matt says “So, right now the guys actually have a song we want to play you.”

Everyone who was there was looking around confused as Clan WumboQ ran down to the stage to play this:

We set the bar pretty high for senior classes to come.  Believe it or not, as impressive as our performance was, the thing that got brought up the most was

“Josh plays bass!?”

Some of the guys that actually knew how to play bass beforehand expressed their jealousy of “why didn’t you just ask me to play?”  Through all of this, I actually got into the rotation of Worship@11 (now English Speaking Service).  Mel Sam remembered that I played bass at camp and asked if I wanted to sub in for Darren.  I humbly accepted.  I would also eventually go on to help teach Caleb how to play bass too.

To date, this is one of Clan WumboQ’s finest moments.



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