KEARNEY — James Compton hated playing the clarinet.
His seventh grade band teacher took some drastic action for the young musician in the last chair in the clarinet section.
“I was terrible at the clarinet,” Compton said. “My teacher called my mom and said, ‘You know, this kid’s not going to be playing clarinet a year from now. I just want to find something that might interest him.’ He said I should try the bassoon. My mom was like, go for it.”
After getting a bassoon, it took Compton a while to figure out how to put it together. After that step, he tried playing and he learned more in one day of playing the bassoon than he had learned in three years of tooting on the clarinet.
Fast forward four decades and Compton now performs in the Omaha Symphony, not as last chair, but as the principal bassoon player. He also teaches at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and performs in Bassoons Across Nebraska, a quartet of bassoon players.
Audiences can hear Bassoons Across Nebraska as part of the Live! in Lincoln Thursday Night Music Series at 7 p.m. Jan. 21 on Facebook. In addition to Compton, the group also includes Joyce Besch, contrabassoonist for Lincoln’s Symphony Orchestra; Nick Nelson, assistant principal bassoon for the Omaha Symphony; and Karen Sandene, second bassoonist for Lincoln’s Symphony Orchestra.