The Gift of Music

. January 13, 2020.
Gregory Jr. playing piano by J. Pickering Photography
Gregory Jr. playing piano by J. Pickering Photography

9-year-old musical talent wows Toledo

Two-year-olds across the globe bang on pots and pans with reckless abandon while their bemused parents go about their business. Few do so with such inspired rhythm and passion as to compel their parents to actually go out and buy a drum set. For Elizabeth and Gregory Buchanan, there seemed no choice in the matter for their son Gregory Jr..

Early Musician

Mrs. Buchannan fondly recalls that no surface was safe: “Once little Greg got to the glass table, we knew we had to do something! My husband went out and bought him a $25 drum set from Walmart.” Within weeks, that set was played to pieces. At that point, Mr. and Mrs. Buchanan understood that their son was a musical force to be reckoned with.

Elizabeth recounts finding four-year-old Gregory hammering a little keyboard with remarkable accuracy to “I Can Only Imagine” playing on the radio. The couple decided that their son was more than just curious about music, and Mrs. Buchanan enrolled Gregory for formal instruction with Tammy Wooten, a Toledo music teacher.

More than a hobby

Mrs. Buchanan shared that as a new parent, she was concerned that her premature son would struggle, but seeing Gregory play music transformed her worries into awe. Young Buchanan quickly became proficient at piano, organ, guitar, and drums. Versed in multiple genres of music, including classical and gospel, Gregory recently added the trumpet and saxophone to his repertoire.

“When he is in flow, the music simply pours out of him,” explained his proud mother. With his full schedule, Gregory prioritizes his service as the minister of music at two area churches: The Ark and Joshua Generation.

Toledo Performances

The Toledo community at large benefits from Gregory’s talents; he has been performing at recitals since he was five years old. The young artist has played for crowds at the Toledo Museum of Art, the Lucas County Committee for Children Cares Awards, The Mary E. Singletary Vocal Arts Competition, and The African American Festival.

Recently, Gregory Jr. was the featured guest artist at the Great Lakes Jazz Festival held in the Ottawa Park Amphitheater. According to Ms. Cheryl Catlin, the event’s organizer for the last five years, “[Performances like Buchanan’s] showcase the power of putting musical instruments in the hands of children and why we are donating a portion of our festival proceeds to buy a piano lab for Central Academy of Ohio [a local K-8 grade school].”

We often wonder as parents how to best nurture our children’s gifts. Gregory Buchanan Jr. revealed his astounding talent very early, prompting his parents to advocate for his musical pursuits. The Buchanans found ways to encourage their son as he eagerly sought out instrument after instrument, thrilling in the challenge of a new format. With his parents’ support, Gregory graciously shares the transcendent gift of music with our community.

Q&A

What’s your favorite activity to do with your family?
Movie night and game night

What is your favorite type of music?
Gospel

Best holiday/Christmas memory?
Christmas when I got my Xbox

What’s your go-to activity for fun?
Xbox

Describe your life in five words or less.
Love, joy, peace, happiness, healthy

What is your favorite Toledo spot?
Guitar Center