How many people get to reinvent themselves in their mid-forties? I happen to be one of those lucky people thanks to Mr. Jonathan Randall!
It was a cool wintry evening in February 2018, when, to the surprise of my husband and friends out celebrating his birthday at a local bar in Tacoma, Washington, I was called up on stage to play bass with the band, "Not My Tempo." It took a few seconds for the packed crowd to realize what was happening. People were on their feet, dancing, clapping, and taking pictures—we took everyone by surprise! Whoever thought someone from the audience could just walk up, pick up the bass and play? To me, it was a dream of a lifetime come true.
It was just around three years ago that I spotted Mr. Randall's post on the neighborhood Facebook page offering free bass lessons. He even offered the loan of his guitar for practice, no prior skills necessary. This was the perfect chance for me, who had always loved the bass but not had the chance for formal training. I immediately set out to explore this "too-good-to-be-true" opportunity. From that very first lesson, I have experienced nothing but the most generous spirit, the kindest approach, the most encouraging advice, and truly supportive guidance. Mr. Randall allowed me to take home one of his most prized guitars until I got my own about a week later, despite me being an absolute stranger. I soon learned that he had several students for whom he was doing the same. Lessons for free, with printed music to take home every time.
My husband and l, with our large circle of friends, soon became fans of Mr. Randall's band, "Not My Tempo." We got to know Mr. Randall's wife, LoriAnn, lead vocalist and keyboardist, who immediately embraced us into their circle of friends. Both are generous supporters of the community, playing at the local church as well as fundraising for people in need. They are passionate about supporting youth and are not only deeply engaged parents in their son's local school theater productions, but have also come to my child's school plays. Their above-and-beyond support for young people, whether for the church youth group or at school, is exactly what our community needs, especially as we hear every day about incidents involving troubled youth.
A teacher myself, I have learned so much from Mr. Randall. He is an absolute genius and drives himself and his students hard. There are no shortcuts, no excuses. Somehow, that high standard is communicated with such patience and kindness, that I push myself without feeling the effort. To me, that is the essence of teaching—to find yourself really getting it while only feeling the thrill of the ride, not the pain. I will always be grateful to Mr. Randall for giving me this lifeline outside my very demanding job and life, and for taking that risk to get me on stage. He is a tremendous asset to our community.

- Current Student (4 years) Divya M.