“Eric Clapton didn’t start playing guitar until he was 18.”
In the fall of 1986, that was all the rationale I needed to ask my parents for a guitar to celebrate my 18th birthday in January of 1987. Along the way, however, somebody had the wisdom to give me a compact disc of Christopher Parkening playing Bach, and I was mesmerized over how so many notes could come out of one person playing one guitar. Clapton’s pentatonic mastery was amazing; Parkening’s technical wizardry, however, was amazing times amazing.
Blissfully unaware and unfettered by anybody’s expectations or lack thereof, I proceeded to spend many hours—too many—plucking Clapton’s Layla and then Parkening’s (Bach’s) Sheep May Safely Graze. Later that fall while lifeguarding at the Yorktown High School Natatorium, a swimmer patron—whose daytime job was reviewing classical music for The Washington Post—gifted two tickets plus a backstage pass to actually meet Christopher Parkening at an upcoming performance the Kennedy Center.
My girlfriend at the time and I were star struck to meet Mr. Parkening and his sweet wife. We didn’t have the maturity or form to pose adult-level conversation so they reversed the attention toward us, diving deep into our interests and activities. The meeting deeply impacted me for years to come.
Class Skype Discussion with Parkening
A few weeks ago, while recalling this as I prepared my syllabus for an upcoming Speech Communication class at Crossroads, I spontaneously decided to ask if Mr. Parkening would consider serving as a guest lecturer through Skype for our CE 313 class, and he graciously accepted.
Last Thursday, Mr. Parkening spent over 90 minutes with us as he recalled the power of story in his life as a Christian performer. The time together was a wonderful blessing for us and Mr. Parkening seemed to deeply enjoy the time as well.
About the Class: CE 313
CE 313 is an applied Speech Communication class focusing on the art, science, and craft of story-telling as a venue for community leadership. The class takes place on Thursday nights from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm EST from July 21 through August 18. Confirmed speakers include Rob Eicher, a former missionary to China and present sales representative for Fort Wayne-based MedPro, and Brad Lindemann, founder for Indianapolis-based Ambassador Solutions and the author of a forthcoming book called In Business for Life.