ROXBURY, NJ – Thanks to kickball and brothers, Christopher Westfall. - a singer/songwriter who is playing Saturday night in Roxbury - came pretty close to never having a music career.
He was a little kid from Pennsylvania who knew, very early on, that he liked music. So Westfall started taking piano and music lessons. “I learned how to read music and absolutely hated it,” he said.
The lessons were tough, but it was the urge to be outside that really did it for Westfall. There he was, inside at the piano and struggling to learn. Meanwhile, he could hear his brothers outside playing kickball and having fun horsing around.
“I quit after about a year and a half,” said the 44-year-old Berlin, NJ resident.
However, the call of music eventually overpowered the call of child’s play. Westfall rebooted his musical education with guitar lessons in middle school. He tended to play songs he liked to sing, songs that were on the radio, and people told Westfall he had a pretty good voice.
Believing they were onto something, Westfall took voice lessons and ended up back where he began: at a piano. “When I sat with my voice teacher and he started playing songs on the piano, I said, `I gotta learn how to do that,’ so I went back and taught myself to play piano,” he said.
Westfall is also a dentist, something he doesn’t think of as being all that unusual. He points out there are many musicians who have other, non-music careers and there are many dentists who have passions other than dentistry.
“A lot of dentists are golfers,” he said. “My day job is being a dentist (his office is in Voorhees, NJ). Music is kind of my emotional release if you will. I usually keep them distinct.”
He plays all over the country, usually for audiences of less than 1,000 and usually by himself. At Saturday’s 7:30 p.m. performance at the Roxbury Performing Arts Center/Investor’s Bank Theater in Succasunna, Westfall will play digital piano, several types of guitars and, of course, sing.
“I might even try some a cappella,” he said. “I’ll do some standard Christmas songs and some more obscure things. I’ve written two original Christmas songs I will be doing Saturday night as well: The Wonder of It All and I Want You to Know it’s Christmas … It should be very entertaining and very interactive.”