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Eric DeGrechie, Editor
5:00 am CST December 26, 2019

Our 3-year-old son recently completed an eight-week beginning drumming class at Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music. He had a blast and though our eardrums surely took a beating, we’re proud of all he accomplished.  

Though he also took a Wiggleworms music class when he was only 1, we did wonder whether he was too young to really get anything out of this one. 

That doubt disappeared after I got off the phone with Wilmette native Johannes Gray, subject of this week’s Life & Arts cover story. As you’ll read, Gray was playing cello at the age of 2. Raised by a family of musicians may have helped guide his path initially, but I was still amazed at how young he was when he started figuring out being a cellist was what he wanted to do. 

The 22-year-old also began attending concerts as a toddler. I’m not sure our son is quite ready for that though he did attend his first theater performance last month, one created by Denise McGowan Tracy, a graduate of Regina Dominican. 

If we were to take our son to a concert in the near future, Gray’s Jan. 4 performance at Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston could be a possibility. 

When your name is Johannes, it’s not surprising Gray has an appreciation for classical composers like Johannes Brams and Johann Sebastian Bach, to name a few. With that, when I asked Gray about which one is his favorite, he was careful not to single anyone out, living or dead, as he admires so many. 

In talking with Gray, I also enjoyed hearing about how important the biographies of the composers of the music he plays is to him and what mood they were in based on life expereinces when they created the pieces. These kinds of details will surely enhance the listening experience for attendees of Gray’s local show. Keep an eye out for a 3-year-old.