Multi-faceted musician Bobby McFerrin is well known for his style of vocalizing that addresses many musical genres. Perhaps less known is Bobby's father, baritone Robert McFerrin who made history when he sang with New York City Opera in 1949. He also made history when he won the Metropolitan Opera Auditions of the Air in 1953, which led to a historic appearance at the Metropolitan Opera in 1955.
I recently moderated a discussion about Robert McFerrin with his son Bobby at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. In our conversation, Bobby talked about how as a child, he would sit under the piano while his father and his father's classical music friends would have jam sessions in their home. Bobby talked about the family listening to Count Basie, Beethoven, Bach and Ellington without differentiating between musical styles. He glowingly shared anecdotes about his father's teaching style talked and his attitudes about music, and how all of it informs his own music making. Under Leonard Bernstein Bobby studied conducting, but he says when standing in front of an orchestra, it is his father's voice that he aims for when leading the band through the music. I asked Bobby whether it was difficult for him to follow his father's footsteps; I'm not sure that he actually answered the question, but clearly he's found his passion and his own unique voice.
I didn't follow my father's vocation into church ministry, what about you? did you follow in either of your parents' footsteps or are your children following in yours?