By Vanessa Infanzon
Jazz musician and AAA Member Noel Freidline has spent the last 30 years on the road traveling from one gig to the next. He sings and plays keyboard and piano – performing songs people know and enjoy throughout the Southeast and beyond.
Although Freidline needs his voice and musical equipment to work, he also depends on reliable transportation to get him to a job on time. But sometimes things don’t always work out. Freidline’s AAA Membership has saved him on many occasions. Before mobile phones, a tuxedo-clad Freidline was stuck on the side of the highway in South Florida, on his way to a show. AAA brought the car in and he got to the venue on time. A few years ago, on his way to Hilton Head, a truck tire tread hit his windshield, knocking it out of place. AAA came to the rescue on Interstate 95. Most recently, Freidline received help from AAA when he was stranded on Interstate 77, near Davidson, during a rainstorm and rush hour traffic.
“Peace of mind” is what having a AAA Membership gives Freidline and his family. Before COVID-19, he traveled 25,000 to 30,000 miles a year in his car.
“In a traditional job, you can call in sick,” he says. “With what I do, you can’t call in sick. You’ve got a booking that’s got your name on it, and you’ve got people who’ve bought tickets. You have to be there.”
Freidline’s been teaching music to high school students at Davidson Day School for 16 years. With COVID-19 on the scene, he’s had to rethink how to get students involved using virtual learning.
“Trying [to teach] through Zoom is a huge challenge,” he explains. “It’s taken more focus and [I have to be] way more intentional about how to engage students. This isn’t perfect. We’re going to do the best we can. Strive for progress, not perfection.”
Charlotte has been Freidline’s home since 2003. He was born and raised in Clearwater, Kansas, where he developed an appreciation for music and specifically jazz. He and his wife, April, have three children. Blowing Rock and the Blue Ridge Parkway have become favorites for family vacations. The couple escapes to Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort for alone time.
Freidline performs often with Maria Howell, a North Carolina native, musician and actor. Look for a recorded or live presentation of Noel & Maria: Home for the Holidays in December at NoelAndMaria.com.
(Go Magazine Nov-Dec 2020)