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The Bucket List fulfills life-long dream for its members

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MASSENA - A Bucket List is a list of things one would like to do before they die, a concept popularized by the 2007 film starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman.

For a group of middle-aged men and women taking instrumental music lessons from Bill “Tracer” Tracy, playing in a band was on their list.

“It was just that they had each talked about playing in a band situation,” Mr. Tracy said. “But they were worried about playing with people that were above their heads.”

After combing through his list of students, Mr. Tracy found bass guitar player Bill Brown, lead guitar player Jim P. Ward, rhythm guitar player John Lambert, vocalist Paul Hayes and drummer Odile G. LaComb.

“They all wanted to experience what it was like to play in a band, and it all kind of fell together,” he said.

Ms. LaComb said she’s been playing the drums for about two years now, picking up her first pair of sticks after a visit to Star Tech Computers, where Mr. Tracy works.

While in the store she noticed a music video playing that featured a young Chinese boy playing the drums.

“He was just remarkable, and I said, ‘I would like to do that,’” Ms. LaComb recalls. “He said, ‘I could teach you.’”

Ms. LaComb said playing the drums was something she’s always wanted to do, but until that moment she didn’t know where to turn to get started.

“I knew he taught guitar lessons, but I didn’t know he did drum lessons,” she said.

The band, who will be opening for Mr. Tracy’s band, “Unfinished Business,” at 5 p.m. July 26 in Springs Park. That concert will be the band’s first official gig and according to Mr. Tracy comes after about a year of rehearsals together.

Ms. LaComb said their set will include five songs, “Keep Your Hands To Yourself” by the Georgia Satellites, “The Thrill is Gone” by B.B. King, “Old Time Rock and Roll” by Bob Seger and the Creedence Clearwater Revival hit, “Proud Mary.”

“I sing on that one,” she said.

The set will conclude with the song “Boom! Boom!” an original composition penned by Mr. Ward.

“It’s changed a couple of times,” Mr. Ward said, adding his band mates and Mr. Tracy have all contributed to the final piece.

Mr. Ward said he began playing guitar “three or four years ago,” after receiving a guitar as a Christmas present from his wife.

“My wife asked me what I wanted for Christmas, and I said, ‘It would be fun to get something I wouldn’t buy myself,’ so she bought me a guitar and the best part was she got me lessons.”

Those lessons put Mr. Tracy and Mr. Ward together.

“Without him, he’s such a great teacher, I probably wouldn’t have stuck with it,” he said. “Without the lessons I would have picked it up a couple times, and it would have ended up in the closet.”

Mr. Ward said he isn’t nervous about stepping on the stage.

“I’m not nervous. I think it’s going to be fun,” he said. “To me it’s a recital more than anything else.”

While Mr. Ward said he’s not nervous, Mr. Tracy said there’s no way he or other members of the band can’t be.

“I remember my first show,” he said. “There has to be some butterflies.”

The concert will be part of the Massena Chamber of Commerce’s summer concert series. Following the Bucket List’s performance, Mr. Tracy’s band will take the stage and play until approximately 7 p.m. Admission to the show is free, but concert goers are encouraged to bring their own seating.

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