Our People: Q&A with M. David Wallace

Our People

Music plays a part in virtually everyone’s life, but for those with a true passion, music is life. Michael David Wallace falls into the latter category, with a lifelong love of music. This native of the Carolinas lives his music through every professional position he fills — and that’s quite a few. Serving as artistic director of the Charlotte Pride Band would be quite enough for some musicians, but Wallace doesn’t stop there. He teaches music at the John Crosland School and is involved with the Charlotte Civic Orchestra and the Queen City Brass Band, on top of his position with the Charlotte Pride Band. It’s safe to say that Wallace has found his calling in sharing his love of music with the world. Thankfully, he also chose to share that love with the readers of qnotes.

What instruments do you play?
My main instrument is the bassoon. I went into school as a tuba player and came out as a bassoon player.

When did you first become interested in music?
I’ve always been interested in music. My mother’s a pianist. I’d say if I had to define a moment that I would go back to, it would be when I was very young, after she would put me in bed she’d go to the next room and play piano as I was falling asleep. Her father was a musician, and I’m not sure how far it goes back, but my family is very musical. She would play Elton John and Cat Stevens.

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What’s your favorite part of performing?
I never feel as connected to people as when I’m rehearsing or performing with them. For me, it’s that connectivity.

Did you ever get stage fright?
I still get stage fright…Just like with teaching, you kind of use that as a tool and it makes you more aware.

What other forms of the arts interest you?
I wish I had the skill to be a visual artist or an actor, but I don’t [laughs]. I really love learning about all of the arts, but as far as participating, basically music or if you count gardening.

How would you describe your happy place?
I think I come across as a pretty strong extrovert, but in reality I’ve really gotten to the point in my life where I crave quiet spaces. So a medium-sized room, with books and cats, and my partner of two years, Michael.

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Which possession is most precious to you?
Definitely my bassoon. It took a lot of effort; I had to borrow money to get it. I didn’t grow up wealthy, I grew up on a farm. So it really took a lot of determination to get the skills where I felt like I deserved my own instrument, and then actually acquire it.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I actually really like where I am now. . . I just want to settle down and make my world a better place.

What’s a day in the life of CPB’s artistic director?
Dealing with adults is kind of like wrangling cats sometimes [laughs] . . .but I have a fantastic board. They’re super good at communicating, they’re always willing to jump in and help.

What are some of CPB’s upcoming events?
Nov. 12 we’ll be doing our first concert of the season. The music for this concert is all composed by lesbian and gay composers. It’s going to be cool, it’ll be a historical concert, we’ll be playing Tchaikovsky and also we’ll also be unveiling a new work . . .a reference to the Pulse nightclub shooting.

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