GERMANTOWN, Tenn. — Roger Pace is used to practicing his music inside his home, but when Covid restrictions started to tighten his imagination began to adjust. Every last Sunday of the month he performs his clarinet and saxophone about an hour in the front yard to a crowd of neighbors.
“I don’t charge. I don’t put out a tip jar. I will not,” he said. “It’s been wonderful to get to play, to have something to play for.”
The concerts started out small with six people in the audience. Now, word has spread and more people are stopping by to hear the sound of sweet music.
“I saw a friend when I was walking, he was walking a dog. He goes, ‘well Roger, when are you going to do the next one?’ I didn’t know he enjoyed it,” said Pace.
As a professional player and former band director, Pace was used to a crowd of students. As a solo performer, his first “jazz from the front porch concert” was played shy behind a pillar.
His most recent performance was on Memorial Day.
“I asked when the branch of your service is played, please stand or if maybe you can’t stand or your loved one isn’t here, stand for them,” he recalled.
Each time his playlists are picked with care. He even takes listener requests.
“I’ve got to go back and listen to… I almost have to go back and watch the whole movie now to see if there’s another song in there,” he said.
“So how long would you say the prep is?” asked WREG’s Symone Woolridge.
“As soon as I get through with one,” he said.
Pace said the whole experience has been wonderful.
“The neighbors, it’s been great because they’ve gotten to see people they haven’t seen in a year,” he said.
It’s also a way for him to continue doing what he loves.