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Meet John Bannon, timpani with the Florida Orchestra

John Bannon, principal timpani player for the Florida Orchestra, can tune the drums by smell. Really.

Thomas Bruce Studios

John Bannon, principal timpani player for the Florida Orchestra, can tune the drums by smell. Really.

Age: 56

Originally from: Anchorage, although I moved here my last year of high school and graduated from Northeast

Age I started studying my instrument: 13

If I weren't doing this, I'd be: homeless

Favorite date night place to eat out: I prefer the funky over the fancy: Chattaway, Sunset Grill, El Cap. My date has been known to veto my choices; I normally am just glad for the meal and go along.

Last book I read was: I read constantly, but the most recently finished are Michael Kaiser's Art of the Turnaround and Leading Roles.

Rays, Bucs or Lightning? Rays, but also the Bucs

Dream vacation: To go home for a while to Alaska, but not the cruise ships. Just hang in Anchorage with family and friends.

Hobbies and interests: I dabble on the dark side — I studied, and do, some conducting. We still have a teenager, and that mentoring provides some distraction. I'm very proud of my kids.

Funniest concert moment: Maybe the time in Mexico when the soloist was fired after the dress rehearsal, so when we showed up for the concert that night a different concerto was on the stand.

The question you're asked most often about your instrument: What I'm doing when I smell those drums (trying to tune). My nose is a more accurate instrument in that endeavor.

>> Saturday: Beethoven's Symphony No. 9

The program, featuring the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay, opens with Arnold Schoenberg's Friede auf Erden (Peace on Earth). There will be a preconcert conversation one hour before each masterworks concert. Concerts are 8 p.m. Friday at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, Tampa, and 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater. Saturday's concert at the Mahaffey in St. Petersburg is sold out. $20-$67. (727) 892-3337. For more on Beethoven's Ninth, see Page 3.

Meet John Bannon, timpani with the Florida Orchestra 02/23/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 23, 2011 3:30am]

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