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Wadsworth High Spanish Teacher Performs With His Band

When the band started they preformed small events in Ohio. They began performing at wedding parties and receptions, lodge meetings, concert series, school events, community events, fundraisers and firework displays. Photo courtesy of Eric Tilson.

Eric Tilson, a Spanish teacher at WHS, has been part of a band with Stephen Tilson, his father for the past twenty years. The band started in 2003 and consists of four members.
“I play guitar, saxophone, harmonica, and sing,” Eric Tilson said. “My dad plays guitar as well, and we have a bass player and a drummer.”
Stephen Tilson is one of the four members of the band. Stephen Tilson operates the sound systems for the band and sets up equipment, along with playing the guitar, ukulele, and tenor banjo. Stephen Tilson and the band’s current bass player’s father wanted to start a band with their sons.

Stephen and Eric Tilson perform for a live audience. Along with being part of the band, Stephen Tilson is a lawyer who specializes in general practice. Photo courtesy of Eric Tilson.

“The band was the brainchild of two fathers, our bass player’s father and me, who wanted to get a group going with our sons so we could spend time with them doing something we all love to do,” Stephen Tilson said. “Unfortunately, the other father passed away, but my son and his son are still in the band, along with a fellow who has taken over for the deceased fellow on the drums.”
Eric Tilson’s passion for music started when he learned how to play bass at eight with the help of his father. At 16 years old, his father taught him how to play the guitar.
“He taught me bass when I started because it is very similar to guitar,” said Eric Tilson. “He taught me everything I needed to know basically, and then I became really obsessed with Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan, and I spent many, many hours copying and learning their solos.”
“I didn’t really start singing until the end of college,” Eric Tilson said.
The Tilson family has a great love for music and has been practicing it for many generations.
“My mother was a church choir member and soloist who also played the piano,” Stephen Tilson said. “She had me take piano lessons from age 4 through high school, and that led to my playing cello, then guitar, ukulele, banjo, bass, and even the bongos.”
Being in the band together has allowed the members to spend more time together doing something that they enjoy.
“We perform live usually once a month. In the summer, much more. Sometimes we will have 2-3 performances but we try to do one a month,” Eric Tilson said.
Each time the band performs one member prepares a list of songs and shares it with the other members for suggestions and changes. The kind of music that they choose to play depends on the event that they perform at.
The band holds rehearsals periodically in one of the member’s homes.
“It is something we love doing plus it gives us a great chance to be together,” Stephen Tilson said.
For each performance, one of the members prepares a proposed song list and circulates it with the others for comment and potential suggested changes.
“Depending on the event we also play some jazz, instrumental music, bluegrass, and really whatever the event needs,” Eric Tilson said.
Eric Tilson has been in multiple bands since his twenties. He believes it would be fun to write a song with his students and never plans to stop playing music.

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Lezlie Tinney, Social Media Editor
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