Sharon Campbell

Audiological history: I was an Rh baby, where my mother’s blood was attacking mine. I ended up with a moderate-severe cookie bite hearing loss, among other problems. I didn’t get my first pair of hearing aids until I was 7 years old. I think my parents didn’t like my singing voice, perhaps because I’m functionally tone-deaf, so they had me take up clarinet when I was 10. My hearing loss wasn’t really a factor in my choice of musical instruments, but because I heard high frequencies normally and the hearing aids amplified them, I never found the sound of flutes attractive, and positively hate piccolos. Due to related coordination problems, I quickly found it too difficult to play clarinet music, but Mr. Richard Hayes moved me to bass clarinet in junior high. I love the sound, and the sound of the contrabasses even more. The music is far easier to play, and that has let me be a lifetime musician.

Musical history: I played clarinet while my friends played their guitars and sang popular songs in college (they wouldn’t let me sing!) and started on bass clarinet again in graduate school. Because my friends were saying something about not being able to sing the music if they capoed up two frets, I had to transpose. Up one note, add two sharps. John Denver loved to start with three or, better, four sharps, so I got really good at playing those keys.

I am now the Southern Colorado Community Band Coordinator, since I am pretty much a member of all of them, ensuring that nobody schedules a concert at the same time. There is too much musician overlap for that to work. I am also now helping to start and run community bands, and have run two successful Southern Colorado Community Music Festivals with a third in the planning stages.

But I still don’t sing. I hear pitches much better now, and now even I can’t stand the sound of my own singing!