My Drumming Dad

April 10th, 2013

My father, Art Koterba, who passed away earlier this year, was a drummer and vocalist. Yet, rarely did the two of us have the chance to play music together in public. Two years ago, in April of 2011, Stefan Morel, a filmmaker from Toronto, was in town to shoot footage for a documentary that was to include scenes of my band, Prairie Cats, performing.

My parents had come out for the show, but it wasn’t during the break that Stefan and I had the idea to ask my father if he’d be willing to sit in on a song. I looked at it as a rare opportunity—not only would I have the chance to share the stage with my father, but also, we might be able to capture the moment with Stefan’s camera.

But my father, true to form, stubbornly resisted. He said that he wasn’t feeling up to it, that he wasn’t sure his feet could handle playing the kick drum and hi-hat cymbal. To be fair, at the time he was eighty-nine years old. It would take a bit more convincing, and eventually, he agreed to come on stage. After adjusting the drum kit, he dove in, playing on a song we certainly hadn’t had the chance to rehearse.

In that moment, he turned back the clock…he seemed twenty years younger.

But then, he always was young at heart.