Jeff Stabley: Drumming up support

Jeff remembers how much his parents supported his passion for music back in the ’70s. Today, he helps his students find that same passion.

Presented by: Our York Media
Written by: Kate Penn
Jeff Stabley (Photo by Caleb Robertson for Our York Media)

Every week after his drum lesson on Market Street, young Jeff Stabley would stare at the Black Diamond Pearl Slingerland drum kit in the window.

He’d get lost in the endless swirls of metallic black and white until his parents picked him up.

The day it wasn’t in the window anymore, he was devastated.

How could someone else have bought the drums that were so clearly meant to be his?

Two weeks later, he came home to find the drums he had longed for, set up in his basement.

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Just about every day in the ’70s, Jeff would put on his headphones and play along to his records.

Earth, Wind & Fire’s “All ‘n All” was a favorite.

He was never happier than when he was playing.

Music has never not been the passion of my life. There’s just an absolutely joy to it.

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Jeff Stabley

“If you’re in the zone, if you’re doing it right, it takes you out of the thoughts you’re having. It just takes you to a completely different place,” Jeff says. “It’s an amazing feeling.”

Through the floor of their row home, his parents couldn’t hear Earth, Wind & Fire. All they heard was the pounding of Jeff’s drums. They’d stomp on the floor to let him know when they had heard enough and it was time to take a break.

But they recognized his passion and did everything they could to encourage it.

“Music has never not been the passion of my life,” he says. “There’s just an absolutely joy to it.”

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Today, Jeff shares that passion with his students. He teaches at York College of Pennsylvania and Lincoln Intermediate Unit 12.

There’s something incredible about seeing the smiles on kids’ faces when they realize what a joy it is to perform music, he says.

“There’s nothing like that feeling of playing music,” he says. “But helping these kids find that feeling, that’s a close second.”

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