by Sabina Jafri ’20
The holiday season has come and gone, and with it, a wave of discussion about a musical album created by one of Sherwood’s very own warriors. Indeed, on November 20, 2018, Principal Eric Minus and his brother, Daryl, released “Holiday Renditions,” an album composed of wintertime classics that swept the school.
“Holiday Renditions” consists of six Christmas songs, all largely instrumental, compiled with a jazzy twist. The duo writes, arranges, produces and engineers all of the songs themselves, and throughout the album, Minus is featured on the piano, horns, electric bass, electric guitar, and even chimes in with a few vocals.
The Minus brothers’ natural curiosity is what lead them to form their current group, Minus2. Minus shares that when they were younger, the boys got along on most days because of their shared passion for music. Minus2 was birthed out of a conversation between them over 15 years ago, when they decided to stop lending their talents on other artists’ projects to make music on their own terms. Together, they combine all of the music elements they had been exposed to in their youth. Listeners of “Holiday Renditions” will hear elements of gospel, jazz, funk, symphonic, and several other, smaller genres. This is what the brothers feel makes their sound unique.
“I hope this project relays a message of good cheer and positive vibes regardless of religious or social beliefs about the holiday season,” said Minus. “Sometimes we should just enjoy listening to music regardless of genre. If it sounds good and feels good, then it is good.” Minus also makes it clear that he does not feel he could be an adequate educator without the balance of being a musician as well.
“I would like student listeners at Sherwood to know that music is an expression and a language, and that it is through our ability to express ourselves through this form of creativity that brings balance to who were are as individuals.”
Several of the classic songs were selected for the album because they are the favorites of Minus’ children. The album was built out of the love and tradition circulating the Minus family during the holidays. One distinct family tradition that Minus proudly shares is that of “shutting everything down.”
“We stop everything for the holidays, including my children’s numerous activities, and anything else that take us away from the family,” he explained. “We really spend the holiday staying close to each other and reconnecting after what always seems to be a hectic year with everyone going in different directions.”
Minus2 is already moving forward with new projects, including a tribute to Holland-Dozier-Holland, the production team that were responsible for the Motown sound of the 1960s. They are thrilled to be commissioned by an arts organization in North Carolina for this tribute. Listeners should look out for the project, as well as an unnamed 4th album that the team will be recording sometime this year.