Drumming Mayor Joins Canby Music Float for July 4th ‘Concert on Wheels’

As the Canby Music float wound its way through the parade route in the triumphant return of Canby’s Independence Day Celebration, attendees were treated to the sight of a different Brian than they may have been anticipating — and a different side of the town’s mayor.

While Canby Music owner and founder Brian Haines was leading the band on guitar, as expected, some of those in attendance may have been surprised to see Canby Mayor Brian Hodson on the float as well, playing the heck out of a custom drum kit.

“I’ve known Brian for a long time, and I always knew that he played drums but I had never actually seen him play,” Haines said. “Finally, after all these years, I was able to talk him into joining us for a jam session.”

Hodson, who in the past has cited the Fourth of July bash as his favorite local event, normally relishes his role of serving in the vanguard and helping to lead the annual parade, but was intrigued by Haines’ offer to join the store’s traditional “concert on wheels.”

Hodson has played the drums for many years and has occasionally showcased his skills in a handful of local gigs.

Though his official duties don’t normally call for him to play the skins, it actually has happened before, including a 2015 appearance on the late-night show Who’s the Ross? during a series in which host Aaron Ross interviewed mayors of various smaller towns around Portland.

He also jumped on the drums at the Wait Park gazebo for Canby’s Independence Day Celebration in 2017 with the “Speed Humps,” a short-lived band composed of local community members. Impressively, the group performed the impromptu show after just one practice and a short rehearsal the morning of.

“He told me it was actually the first time he has played in four years,” Haines said. “He did great.”

The mayor brought his own college drum set for the performance — something Haines said he had no trouble believing.

“It could not have been more obvious that it was a college kit. That thing was thrashed,” he said with a laugh. “We actually cleaned it for him.”

Photo by Tyler Francke.

Haines said he believes the special guest appearance is something Canby will remember for a long time.

“To me, it really illustrates that in a place like Canby, the local politicians are just members of our community like everybody else,” he said. “They’re human beings, and they’re not getting paid to do this. They’re volunteers who are just trying to do what they can to make the community better.”

In addition to Haines and Hodson, the roving concert featured the talents of Canby Music employees Nathan Doty on saxophone, Christian Engerman on bass, Lana Szenasi on the trumpet, Ryleigh Mulhern on keys and Cody McEldowney on percussion.

“It was a good representation: Everybody who works here was on that float playing,” Haines said. “We had piano, saxophone, guitar, bass, drums. It showed the whole community that everybody who works here are musicians, and we’re the people to come to for instruments, lessons and repairs. We know our stuff.”

Canby Music started its “tradition within a tradition” of the float concert a few years back and has continued it ever since, with the exception of 2021, when Haines and his team played at the gazebo because the parade was canceled due to Covid-19.

Photo courtesy Brian Haines.

“It’s a lot of fun to get everybody who’s working here up on the float and play a few songs,” he said. “You actually reach more people that way, and it’s a more fun experience.”

The parade was extremely well-attended from Haines’ vantage point.

“There were tons of people,” he said. “Normally, there would be spots where it would die down, especially near the end. But this year, it was just solid all the way through. The weather agreed, and it was just really nice. We were glad to have the Fourth of July back the way it is meant to be.”

Photo courtesy Brian Haines.

Canby Music is a full-service music store offering instrument sales and rentals, accessories, songbooks, lessons and repairs. With the supply chain issues stores are experiencing this year, Haines strongly encourages customers to get their back-to-school orders in as early as possible.

“A lot of music stores are out of stock,” he said. “We’re actually a little ahead of the game as far as that goes right now, but my advice is to get out early because I guarantee you that everyone is going to be completely out of stock by the time school starts again.”

Canby Music is located at 590 NW 1st Avenue in Canby. For more information, call 503-263-2263 or visit canbymusic.com.

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