First Trumpet First Chair 1961

How odd it seems now after spending hours every day torturing the family and neighbors with trumpet lessons beginning in the fourth grade, only to give it up entirely 7 years later after making first trumpet first chair. The music teacher was less than happy with my decision to leave the band in favor of trying out for basketball my senior year.

Consider what I’m wearing in the photo, and then consider parades in Maine at minus 20 degrees. Wind chill wasn’t invented at the time, so think colder. Now picture standing in the freezing cold for an hour waiting for the parade to begin. Band uniforms were as thin as your summertime Sunday best, the hat was just for looks, and the white suede shoes and thin socks weren’t made for the dead of winter. Naked mighta been a tad colder, but not by much.

Drummers had it made with wooden sticks and a canvas sling. The trumpet players were not as fortunate. Try holding frozen brass in your bare hands, and blowing through a half frozen mouthpiece held to your lips. Once the parade gets going imagine a stalled firetruck starting a chain reaction as you run into the member in front of you driving cold brass into your teeth. The “basketball or trumpet?” decision was easily made that last year in high school.

I do not, however, regret the experience. Standing on tables in a Downeast diner and jamming freestyle with a few others at the Rockland Lobster Festival was kinda cool. Stay tuned for coverage of my illustrious basketball season that senior year. I hate being mediocre at anything, and the season total of 2 points are an unforgettable statistic.

Jim's handwritten signature


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