By day, we’re marketing geeks. Computer nerds. Quirky writers and artists. And damn proud of it!

But after hours, our team members shed their marketing capes – and pursue all kinds of cool Hobbies, Interests and Talents (we call them HITs for short).

Here’s what Ryan Maher, a Marketing Consultant on our team, is into:

HIT: Avid Improvisational Music Fan

Back Story

I’ve been a music lover as far back as I can remember, but my freshman year of college was a real eye-opener for me. I was introduced to a ton of artists who weren’t on my radar; getting to see a few of them perform live got me hooked.

I started traveling to see shows about 20 years ago. Now, I get on a plane at least a dozen times a year to catch my favorite acts in amazing locations. In fact, I’ve seen my favorite band, Umphrey’s McGee, over 150 times across 5 countries.

The picture above is from their UMBowl in 2015, which is possibly the most innovative show format any band has ever created. There are 4 quarters with 4 different formats, including a quarter where the fans can throw musical ideas at the band using their cell phones that pop up on the screen throughout the performance.

What do I love most about live musical performances?

Where do I start?

Music can communicate in Gestalts; it can convey concepts and emotions in a truly magical way. And to watch performers use their mastery and muscle memory to improvise together – in the moment and without a net – is something I can never get enough of. When they pull it off, the experience is like sharing a meditation on the present moment with the artists and everyone in attendance.

I also met the love of my life, who happens to be an amazing photographer, at a music festival in 2003. She has shot over 100 shows that we’ve attended, and being able to share my passion with her has been an incredible gift.

What I love even more than the music itself are the connections I’ve made with truly exceptional people across North America.

Better than Wonka’s Golden Ticket

A few years ago I had bought a $10 raffle ticket for an organization called The Roots of Music, who are doing incredible work using the power of music to transform the lives of children in New Orleans.

I had forgotten about it, until I received a call from “Julie McCoy” saying that they missed me at a concert during Jazzfest where they held the drawing. It wasn’t until a few minutes into the call that I remembered the ticket that I bought and put together why she was calling me: I had just won a cabin on Jam Cruise! Dozens of my favorite artists played non-stop for a week on a cruise around the Caribbean. I think I was on Cloud 9 for a few months just dreaming about it!

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