Artist of the Issue: Erik Nadeau

   Eric Nadeau at the drums. (T. Horvath ’14)

Eric Nadeau at the drums. (T. Horvath ’14)

From a ripe, young age, Erik discovered his passion for percussion with stick as he began to play the concert band drums. This included anything from the bass drum to the snare drum and even the prestigious xylophone, which is only for expert players. Needless to say, Erik could rock the xylophone. He continued to play the concert band drums until the eighth grade, when the drum set beckoned to this skillful percussionist. After Erik began to play the drum set, he shared his talent in ninth grade with his jazz band.

When everyone realized how talented he was, Erik had to fight off the hordes of musicians at Hollis-Brookline High School who wanted him. Such world-renowned bands as the hard rocking “They, Them and Us”, the pop rock group “Chasing the Sun”, and even funk,blues, and jazz fusion band cleverly titled “The Funkadactyls” were graced with Erik’s drumming. In a two-night, school sponsored event called Guitar Night, where all of the school and faculty bands can perform, Erik played in “The Funkadactyls.” After the group’s performance, people were amazed by “the ridiculous drumming that was witnessed.” Erik was gaining respect and popularity, and during his sophomore year, he was admitted into the honors jazz band after a rigorous tryout.

He played in the honors jazz band until he came to Groton in fourth form. Erik took Groton by storm with his drumming and ridiculous swag.  Kenji Kikuchi was taken by surprise when a new fourth former decided to try out for the lead drummer position. Since then, Erik has been THE jazz band drummer that can only be compared to John Bonham of “Led Zeppelin” and Neil Peart of “Rush.” To put it simply, Erik Nadeau is to drumming what Babe Ruth is to baseball.

When he isn’t at Groton, Erik enjoys long walks on the beach, watching the sun set, and playing funk or blues with his hometown friends. Not only does the man play at home, but also over the summer he played in the Harvard Summer Pops Band, one of the most highly regarded concert bands in the area.

For just over a year now, I’ve played with Erik in the jazz band and in our jazz combo, “Riverside.” One of my favorite things about Erik and his drumming is his ability to learn new songs and beats with such ease. Last year, Erik, Mitchell Zhang, and I performed a slow jazz ballad called, “My Foolish Heart.” It was extremely slow and while it could have been easy for Erik to speed up, slow down, or simply mess up, the recordings show none of these mistakes. After we played that song as a trio, David Howe entered  and decided to spice things up with his tenor saxophone skills. We transitioned from a slow jazz ballad into a jazzy Latin  type of song called, “Wave.” Not only was I amazed with the precision of Erik’s drumming, but I was also impressed with how easily he could pick up a completely different style of drums.

I’ve had the honor of playing with Erik and his spot will be nearly impossible to replace after he graduates. Not only will we be missing his skill, but the whole band will miss his friendliness towards everyone and the unfathomable amount of swag previously mentioned. Next year will be hard without the legend himself, but wherever Erik ends up after graduating, that place will have gained an excellent musician and an even better person.

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