Meet Your Musicians – Jim Roberts

May 01, 2015

Jim Roberts plays percussion for one of our favorite local bands--FootLoose. He’s done a great deal more in the music business than you might imagine and also teaches at Elon University. Jim gives percussion lessons, serves as producer and engineer for other bands’ projects, and is a versatile percussionist in more styles than just contra music.

How did you get started playing for contradances?

In 1989, I started playing dances with David DiGiuseppe and FootLoose. Feet Retreat in 1990 may have actually been my first big dance. I brought a set of drums in the hall and it scared the engineers to death! They had never seen drums at a dance before.

In what ways is playing for dancers different from playing a concert?

In a concert, people are there just for the music. Their listening is much more attuned to the music. In a dance, they just need a good beat. If they can feel it, then that is most of what matters.

What do you do when you're not playing music?

My other jobs: teaching drum set, world percussion, and the music of the 60's and 70's at Elon University. I also sell solar photovoltaic systems. Since we got our solar panels, I have been learning a lot about the solar industry. I also love to walk, cook, party and spend time with my wife and friends.

Petronella claps--hate 'em or just don't care?

They are fine - just another percussion instrument to play with.

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