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She'll be keeping rhythm behind her idol
A Pasco High musician and soccer star was lucky caller No. 9, winning a chance to get close to a superstar singer.
By GREG AUMAN
Published July 9, 2004
DADE CITY - Jami Pass and Shania Twain are seemingly inseparable.
Pass, a 17-year-old senior at Pasco High, has all of her favorite singer's CDs, posters on her walls, everything you'd expect from a huge fan.
"If you're in the car and a Shania song comes on," explains her mother, Vicki, "just forget about it. The windows get shattered."
Ever since Tuesday morning, the Pass household has been abuzz with excitement about Twain's concert tonight at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa. Jami will be going, not just as a devoted fan, but as luck would have it, as a guest drummer, performing with Twain on stage.
"With that many people there, it's kind of scary," said Pass, who won a radio contest on 99.5 WQYK-FM's morning show and will be one of four guest performers.
Her father, John, told her Monday night that WQYK was holding a contest where one caller each morning this week would be selected to perform in concert with Twain. She set her alarm for 6 a.m. - no easy concession for a teenager in summer - and woke up with her parents, listening to the radio by the phone, fingers ready to dial and crossed that maybe, somehow, she would be caller No. 9.
She called, thrilled just to hear a ring instead of the usual busy signal. Once she got on the air and learned she'd won, she still had to pass muster as a drummer capable of playing with Twain.
"They had to make sure I had rhythm," said Pass, who calmly put down the phone and played along with a song, earning approval from the show's hosts.
She called her grandmother, then her boyfriend, and it has been all she can think about since. For Pass, it's like winning a lottery you only had dreamed might exist.
Her mother remembers a few years ago when Pass e-mailed the same morning show after a different contest, just wondering if they could ever hold a sweepstakes to let a caller drum for her favorite. To have such a contest, and to win it, is the stuff they write songs about.
"This is so ironic that it's come about the way it has," said Vicki, who gets complimentary tickets to attend the concert with John.
Pass already has made a name for herself in high school soccer, where she was a first-team all-state selection this spring after leading the county with a school-record 48 goals. She led Pasco to its first district championship and playoff win, and hopes to play the sport in college. For now, she's enjoying another hobby, one that has been part of her life since the sixth grade.
She played in the jazz band at Pasco Middle School, moving on to the drum line in Pasco High's marching band, where she started on the tri-toms and now plays the snare. Since ninth grade, she has played the drums two nights a week for the youth fellowship band at her church, First Baptist of Dade City.
Only once has the drumming on her back porch prompted a complaint from neighbors, who did have a baby trying to sleep, and she gladly stopped. Should anyone else in Twain's entourage fall ill tonight, Pass also can play the organ, trumpet and bass guitar.
Her role tonight will be a traditional drum, slung over one shoulder, for Twain's last number of the night. It's called (If You're Not in It for Love) I'm Outta Here! from Twain's 1995 breakthrough album, The Woman in Me. It's also Pass' personal favorite, the song she most often plays along with on the drums on her back porch.
She's already gotten a glimpse of celebrity this week, appearing on a local daytime news show and playing drums for a live TV audience, getting a taste of the same butterflies she'll have tonight.
Vicki Pass said she hasn't been to a concert since seeing Brooks & Dunn five or six years ago, and tonight, she'll share the same excitement her daughter has, both enjoying the concert while nervously awaiting Jami's chance to perform.
"When Jami got on the air, she was just beside herself," she said. "She knows all the songs, but her favorite to play with is I'm Outta Here. And now that's exactly what she gets to do. When she played on TV, she was a little antsy, but once she got going and started drumming, the fears just went away."