Book Review – “Space Music”
Jack Meehan is a true drum corps renaissance man. From his initial exposure to the activity while growing up in the Burroughs of New York City to his long time association with the Concord Blue Devils, Meehan has always strived to better himself, his family, and his students, both within and outside the drum corps world. Having learned himself from legends like Jim Jones, Meehan now looks to pass on his life lessons and memories through his autobiography, Space Music.
For those who aren’t aware, the title refers to one of the most famous horn warm-ups in modern day drum corps. A combination of “space chords” and snippets of melodies from various space-themed scores, Space Music is one of the many contributions that Jack Meehan has given to the activity and, like Meehan himself, has evolved through the years.
The story of Jack Meehan’s life is told by Meehan himself and follows his life’s story chronologically with interjections of life observations, poetry, and even pride filled announcements when, during the writing of the book, Blue Devils B wins the 2009 and 2010 Open Class championship, an achievement doubly important to Jack through his past association with the BD organization and through his son John, the brass arranger for BDB.
These interjections are a window into how Meehan’s mind works and, while the flow of the autobiography’s narrative is sometimes interrupted by them, the insight and personallity they add to the overall book more than make up for it. Readers will get the sense that they are sitting with the author, sharing a cup of tea while he tells them about his life, which, personally, would be a very enjoyable experience and made the book enjoyable, too.
Another entertaining trait of Meehan’s in Space Music is how he refers to those he has disagreed with throughout his drum corps career. No matter how well known that person is, Meehan only refers to them by their position in the organization. This reviewer is savvy enough to know exactly who these people are but, out of respect to those people, the author, and future readers of Space Music, will not reveal or refer to them as Meehan did not want to do so when writing the book.
Overall, Space Music is a light and entertaining read for any drum corps fan, as well as an enlightening look into the life and mind of an incredible instructor and influence in drum corps. The book is currently available through Amazon (http://amzn.com/0615492401) and, with the holidays approaching, would make a great gift for drum corps fans as well as a great read for anybody who is interested in drum corps history and personalities.
Review by: Kevin Gamin
Managing News Editor