Wayne McEvilly's traveling music show.
DELAWARE COUNTY DAILY THUS ""* *^ Monday. JuneÂ», 1Â«5 Modern-day troubadour travels on motorcycle ROSE VALLEY - So, you thought the day of the wandering minstrel died with Camelot. Well, you're wrong. Of course, this minstrel doesn't sing. Nor does he carry his lute around like a self- respecting troubadour. It would be a little difficult to tote a piano on a motorcycle. But, notwithstanding the fact that Wayne McEvilly is a pianist who is on a cross- country tour by motorcycle, McEvilly is every , inch a wanderer and a minstrel. Originally from Chester where he first studied music, McEvilly, 38, has years of teaching music and philosophy behind him, as well as con- certizing and writing poetry. His present, unusual tour was not motivated by financial agrandizement -- although he admits he could stand a little of that right now. But rather, it was the feeling that he "had to get out of the classroom and give what I have right here," he shaking .the strong, curved fingers of both hands. "I've spent 32 years preparing for this," he said. "Now, I've got all of Beethoven's Sonatas here. I've got all of Mozart's Sonatas right here. I have all of Chopin's Waltzes and Nocturnes here, along with a number of other things. And I just have to share it." So, that's just what he has been doing. He has travelled about '3,600 miles through 15' states during the last two months, performing and practicing wherever and whenever he can -- whether he receives payment or not. The father of three children, he has always been interested in children's reactions to classical music. He has found in his travels that children who have never heard Beethoven before do not automatically dislike it as "longhaired" stuff. "I have found that they sit fascinated and enjoy every bit of it, "McEvilly said. So, how has he supported himself since he began his zigzag flight from his home in Santa Fe.N.M? - Â· Â· Perhaps it's the philosophical bent of his nature or the Eastern influence of a recent year of study and performance in India but McEviily is a man of great faith. His chief resource when he started his trip was his musical talent. It still is. He has received a little sidebar help from the sale of a limited edition tape he made for an eight-track and cassette series before leaving home, he said. .Fortunately, McEvilly is an affable, outgoing type with plenty of built-in reserve energy: How did he set up his series of concerts? For the most part, he'd simply arrive at a town, find a school, display a zeroxed copy of newsclips and reviews and ask the administration if they would like him to perform a spontaneous concert for their studeents. More often than not, they said yes and.McEvilly found himself at a keyboard for ahalfhourtoanhour. As for practice, he has found; that ingenuity has helped there too. "Usually, I'd go to a shopping center where they had a piano store and ask if they'd like me to play one of their instruments for a while as a demonstration for the public," he said. In one instance, the store proprietor was so delighted, he hauled the biggest grand he had to the center of the shopping center and McEvilly had it for several hours. He. has found also that people have been generally kind and interested in his welfare. Many have offered dinner or lunch and he has sold a few of his tapes. Naturally, there were a few WAYNE MC EVILLY . . . on his trusty cycle bad incidents too. It would be impossible to travel that distance on a 100CC Kawasaki Trail Bike (just about the smallest motorcycle one could use on the highway) and not have a few problems. "I rode nearly all the way across Missouri in the rain," mused. "And my knapsack stolen somewhere along the Indiana-Ohio border." (The pack contained about $150 worth of tapes.) "Then, here was truck driver who kept trying to make faster in one of those mile-long tunnels on the Pennsylvania Turnpike east of Pittsburgh," McEvilly said. "It was awful. There was nothing but slipper slippery, yellow brick roadway and you knew if you slipped, were dead." Somehow, McEvilly is here, ready to perform at Hedgerow Theater tonight, Tuesday and Wednesday. He wil be playing his Harry S. Truman Favorites Concert at 8:30 tonight and another adult concert at the same time Wednesday. In between, he will do a children's concert at 4 p.m. Tuesday. The son of Mr. and Mrs. Walter McEvilly, now. of Claymont, he was encouraged in his music by the late Deeter, founder of Hedgerow. Last year, McEvilly played a special Jasper. Deeter commemorative concert. From here, his "the Lord is my Shepherd" tour is expected to take him south to lorida. His dream was to have a truck with a piano on it and his music to the people. His reality has been a little more difficult. But the way McEvilly sees the hours he spends with his fingers on the keyboard represent "no expenditure of energy. Rather, it is an infusion of energy for a pianist/' he During his stay in Delaware County, he has been rehearsing daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sun Valley High School. ' Where it will all end, McEvilly isn't sure. His present dream is the successful incorporation of his tape business, his continued ability to bring good waves to people through his music and enougli income to support his family back in New Mexico. "People have told me I can't do it.I know I'm getting older but I still have my health.And h ve my music here in these hands.So, I must go on," said McEvilly. So, if faith and talent count, well--God bless his motorcycle.