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Westmont music shop owner to tour with band Chicago

WESTMONT – It’s been almost two years since Musician’s Workshop, 37 W. Quincy St., opened its doors, and owner Michael Tahlier said the shop and its employees still are having fun.

Tahlier, who has played guitar for more than 20 years, said the key has been being able to share experiences and inspire the students.

One of those inspirational moments will come next week as he and the band Tim Stop open for the band Chicago. Tahlier plays guitar for the self-titled band.

“Performing live and seeing all the hard work come to play is refreshing,” Tahlier said. “I get to play eight hours a day and it doesn’t get old, it’s fun. When it’s a passion it becomes a part of who you are.”

How did you get the opportunity to play with Chicago? For the better half of five years, I’ve been working with Tim Stop and he’s just releasing his new album, ‘Across the Atlantic,’ which is really the basis of jumping on tour with Chicago... We got hooked up with the manager of Chicago, and they wanted to give us the opportunity to jump on their tour.

What are you expecting it to be like? It’s probably going to bring back those butterflies that I haven’t felt since I was a kid. It’ll be a great experience. And its humbling, Chicago’s been playing over 40 years and to see that they appreciate what we’re doing, it’s inspiring for me.

Are you going to be away from family for a while? Fortunately, they get to come along. My fiancee and I get to go together. ... My parents are in Wisconsin and we’re getting them backstage tickets to come along too. ... It’s going to be memorable.

Are you nervous? I’m more excited. I’ve been a musician for over 20 years. Performing is just part of the gig. Early on in my development I was nervous but you play and play and play and that kind of goes away... It’s like the excitement of people who love roller coasters or sky diving. I’m more ready to go.

What are you most looking forward to? The next gig is Fort Wayne, Ind. It’s the first time I’ve ever played in an amphitheater that is completely sold out. That’s going to be an experience. And being able to talk to Chicago, they’ve been a band for 40 years. It’s very humbling. It’s going to be a wonderful time and wonderful experience.

Do you think they can still rock like they used to? Definitely. I think you refine your skills the more you play and that’s why you practice. For them, playing the hits they’ve played for 40 years, they just know it so well that they don’t make mistakes. They’ve lived that music for so long. They’re just as able to rock as they could 40 years ago.

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