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Local trio plays for fun

August 31, 2003|JENNIFER BRUMMETT

Setting up for a recent gig at Two Roads Caf, Mike Perros of The Mike Perros Trio was all smiles as he remembered how the group got together.

"I went to college with Bob (Bryant, bassist)," says Perros, drummer for the group. "I'd seen him over the years, and I gave him a call. I told him I had an off-the-wall request."

Perros says he knew Bryant was a professional musician and that he might not be interested in playing with a non-professional group. But he wanted to see if he could pull a group together, for a good reason.

"I grew up listening to my mom (Theresa Perros) sing," Perros explains, adding he's wanted to pull together a swing band for a long time.

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"My father was the innkeeper at the Holiday Day Inn (at the same time that) Floyd Herzog was the managing director at the Norton Center for the Arts. Floyd had Dad set up a hospitality gathering at the Holiday Inn, and there was a piano there."

The hospitality was for Ella Fitzgerald and her band, which came to Danville for a concert. After the concert, Fitzgerald and her group retired to the Holiday Inn.

"The piano player started playing the piano," Perros remembers, adding his mother, who loved music in all its forms, couldn't stay away from the pianist. "My mother started singing, and he looked up at her and said, 'Lady, you can sing.'

"She has serious talent, and I've always wanted to giver her a venue in which to sing. Her talent is God-given - she's never taken a lesson."

So a year-and-a-half ago, Perros decided he needed to get serious about forming a group. His mother is in her 70s now.

"I called Bob, and he said he'd get the best pianist, and that was Bruce Martin of Barbourville," Perros adds. "We convened at my house, where I have a piano, and Bob brought his bass.

"We're here because a friend asked a friend. Mom came in and was watching Bob, and I thought, 'This is going to work.' These two guys can play with anybody, anytime, anywhere. They're putting up with amateurs."

At that moment, Theresa Perros strolls into Two Roads and hugs both Bryant and Martin. Perros smiles.

"That's how it all started. They don't need us - we need them."

The group has played at a number of events, including Central Kentucky Cancer Program's Luminosity, the Historic Constitution Square Festival, the Danville Antique Show and Centre College. Swing is the genre of choice for this "informal" group, as Perros calls it. He isn't sure what the future holds for The Mike Perros Trio.

"I have a professional career five days a week, a wife and three kids," Perros explains. "I haven't thought about the future - it's so much fun in the present. I'm doing something and she's doing something we never dreamed would happen. That's what's important."

Adds Theresa Perros, "We do it for the joy and love it."

Says Perros, "If I never had another job, we've had fun with it. We've had a good time."

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