Lifelong Tacoma resident Dean Tsapralis says music has kept him busy for 55 of his 68 years. But after a downtown storage unit he rented was submerged under mud and 9 feet of water in September, other things have kept the percussionist busy.
“It was a very damaging situation for me and for several other people in the basement floor of this storage unit,” he said.
A rain storm caused the flood that damaged and destroyed most of Tsapralis’ percussion instruments, many of them unconventional collectibles from around the world.
He lost instruments from places such as India, Africa, South America, China and Russia that he said “are basically irreplaceable at this point.”
As a result, his ability to make a living performing regularly with local bands came to an abrupt halt.
Tsapralis has, instead, spent much of his time since the flood attempting to clean up what he can. He’s still unsure if his drum set can be salvaged; he stored it in the unit on Puyallup Avenue just two days before the flood.
“I haven’t worked at all since this event, so it’s been difficult,” he said. “I’m just trying to find ways to move forward.”
Now others are helping Tsapralis do just that.
Friends and family have stepped in to turn “mud, sweat and tears” into “I get by with a little help from my friends,” as they put it. They are holding a benefit concert Sunday at The Swiss to raise money and relieve some of the financial burden for Tsapralis.
Marilyn Love, his younger sister, said the concert is about fun and support first, money second.
She said the financial help will fall into place because her brother has had such a positive impact on the community. She said the concert is important because making music is his livelihood.
“I just know it will be successful,” Love said, adding that Tsapralis is known to many as Mr. Nice Guy. “People want to give back to him. He is such an inspiration.”
His wide range of musical involvement includes performing in high-profile bands, teaching kids in classrooms and playing with the Tacoma Symphony.
Despite dealing with aftermath of the flood, Tsapralis hasn’t let his misfortune stop him from creating music.
He will play a glass percussion instrument, which he says emulates the relaxing sound of water, at the Museum of Glass in the afternoon during First Night on New Year’s Eve. He also has been working with that instrument for a CD called “Quiet Reflections” that he will release early next year.
“It’s a beautiful, unique instrument,” he said, adding that he calls it his dream machine. “This instrument washes over you in a beautiful way.”
Tsapralis said music is the best way to heal, and the support of the community at Sunday’s event will have a positive effect.
“The fact that friends have come together to do this benefit has lifted my spirits,” he said.
IF YOU GO
What: Benefit concert for local musician Dean Tsapralis.
When: Sunday from 3-10 p.m.
Where: The Swiss, 1904 Jefferson Ave., Tacoma.
Cost: There is a suggested donation of $10 for Sunday’s event. There will be six bands throughout the evening and an “open jam” starting at 9 p.m.
Also: Tsapralis will perform during First Night on Dec. 31 at the Museum of Glass. He will play a glass percussion instrument from 1-4 p.m.Kari Plog: 253-597-8682 firstname.lastname@example.org @KariPlog