His Dad played alto Sax, but Neal played drums.
And when I say played drums, I mean like nothing you’ve ever seen before!
Those around him were in awe. As I walked away after interviewing him two young men asked me how I had gotten a chance to talk to him!
Assistant Director of the Million Dollar Band at the University of Alabama, Neal Flum is also Director of the Pep Band, and a percussion instructor and arranger for the marching band. To the say the man is busy is an understatement.
Neal consults for the percussion line of the world ranked DCI Drum Corps: The Cadets. Want a treat ? Type his name into You Tube and watch him play! (fine we’ll do it for you.)
As Musical America World wide reports, “We are elite athletes of the small muscles and demand the utmost precision, coordination, fluency, speed and endurance from our bodies. Unlike the typical athlete or dancer, whose careers can’t continue much beyond their mid-30’s, if that, we musicians can usually have long careers.”
But what happens when a musician develops dystonia?
And for those wondering what is dystonia and why is it a big deal to musicians, see how it tried to snatch this woman’s musical passion away.
Neal has persevered in all despite the fact that dystonia came and gripped his magic fingers. Painful, unpredictable, focused on his hands dystonia- is poorly understood. It has no definitive treatment. Neal has undergone two surgeries: radial nerve release and carpel tunnel surgery, tried two different medications, and is now undergoing acupuncture.
A professional musician with his muscles involuntarily tightening, Neal can still teach, write, and direct, and when I interviewed him he was using a special stylus to make using his computer easier. And not a beat was missed as he kept watch over the percussion line of the Cadets.
Dressed in a soft blue shirt and a cap on his head, his manner is easy going , and serious at the same time. He would love to be able to demonstrate, to play, not just write, teach and plan.
Still there is a lot of fight in dog and not a drop of self pity.