My son Spencer recently joined the West Los Angeles Children’s Choir and not only has it been great for him, I’ve really enjoyed it, too. Maybe it’s because he’s the first of my three sons to be interested in making music and therefore following a bit in my musical footsteps.

I haven’t always been a realtor. I’ve also been a lawyer (still have my license but no longer practice) and before that, I worked in the music business.  I had always been interested in music from as far back as I can remember. I took years of guitar, voice and harmonica lessons and even paid my way through Europe during college by playing music and singing in a band in bars and other local venues.

ben lee - a passion for musicIn college, I was a featured soloist and in high school I liked being in Madrigals and singing with a nationally recognized choir. Although, side note, Madrigals was the only class in high school I actually got a ‘B’ in, destroying my otherwise perfect 4.0 grade point average and thereby ruining my chances at graduating Valedictorian from Santa Monica High School.

Why did I get a B? One day, we as a class acted up while a substitute was teaching and when our actual teacher returned, she was none too happy about our terrible behavior and marked everyone down a grade. So I got a B. Sore subject, clearly. Still burns.

But, back to music- what’s great about being in a choir is that it really becomes like a team sport. You have built in camaraderie and support. You learn together, gel voices together, perform together and you create something potentially beautiful. I think my middle son may be drawn to this aspect of being in a choir. He wasn’t born with a particularly special or glorious voice but he loves being a part of a group. The only thing he liked after one season of playing baseball was the part when you got to hang out in the dugout and joke around with the other teammates. He’s a social guy and likes being part of a team just as long as he doesn’t take a ball to the head or have the pressure of having to make a basket before the timer blares.

The performing part of being in a group is another benefit to joining a choir. The choir Spencer is now a part of is particularly unique in that they get hired to do many professional gigs, in fact last month they sang back up for the band ‘Walk the Moon’ on the Jimmy Kimmel Show.  Spencer loved being on TV and it was sweet to see him so proud of himself. Middle children are often not afforded the spotlight in a busy household so to see him absorb all the attention for a change was definitely a treat.

In the end, we often don’t get to take our hobbies and passions and turn them into careers. If we did, I’d be Mick Jagger right now instead of selling residential real estate. But if we do take those childhood hobbies and passions and still practice and enjoy them alongside our professional chosen fields, then that is something special. I still love music and get out there as often as I can to play the harmonica, whether it’s on stage or just at home, backing up my son the singing star.