By Corey Poole
Some things in life happen for a reason. I believe this is how I happened upon a father and his sons playing trumpets on the downtown riverbank on Thursday afternoon, July 30. Makalani O. Jones Sr. is teaching his sons Makalani Jr. and Olamide how to play trumpet while they’re visiting him for the summer. He’s a music teacher in Alexandria by day and a full time busker in his free time.
Makalani Sr. has been playing music since the boys, now 12 and 10, were in diapers. It only made sense to him that if he was going to teach them how to play trumpet, “they pick it up like milk and cereal.” So the product of three weeks of music instruction can be heard as songs from a variety of genres float through the humid summer air.
Teaching his sons while busking with them on the peaceful banks of Cane River Lake also serves to teach Makalani Jr. and Olamide how to be entrepreneurs. It’s their own version of a summertime lemonade stand.
They set up on the brick pathway in front of the Cane River Queen Riverboat and serenade passengers as they board, a tip jar at their feet.
The trio will be out Friday and Saturday, July 31- Aug. 1 from around 2-7 pm if anyone in town is interested in stopping by, listening to a few tunes, and throwing a tip in the boys’ bucket.
Listen closely and before each song you’ll hear them recite the following mantra:
Look to the left- Yes I can
Look to the right- Yes I can
Look up- Yes I can
Look down- Well go on then
Where are you going- Straight to the Top
“It’s a life motto,” said Makalani Sr. “It’s teaching them to have a work ethic. It’s teaching them entrepreneurship with a different type of lemonade stand.”
At a time when normal is absolutely not the norm, Makalani Sr. is trying to teach his sons that we’re all in the same quagmire where we have to find our own light at the end of the tunnel.
“We’ve got to look at things through a higher lens,” he said. “Creativity is my ray of light.”