Music Comeback

Sometime after retirement in 2000, I decided that I needed to get into something that would be fun and provide a social outlet at the same time. I had to get out on my own as my wife was booked with all her long-time ongoing activities and so I had to fend for myself. Eventually I figured that getting back into music would would provide a meaningful activity for my new life.

Currently I play in three groups and am still taking lessons. This was after essentially not playing music at all since graduating from High School in 1951. There were a couple times when I got out the trumpet and fiddled with it, I did keep it oiled and ready to play again over all those years, but it never grew into any commitment to learn how to really play well. I had taken trumpet lessons, before high school, from a visiting music teacher, in K-8, but when I got to High School the music teacher put me on a small Eb sousaphone. That worked well for me and proved to be a good social outlet with the pep band, a small German Band combo and an orchestra. I tried to play a sousaphone, after retirement, but it made me hyperventilate to blow it and so I thought maybe I should learn to play my old trumpet instead. The rest is history. Fred Heath put me in contact with Lori Wingo, an established trumpeter in the Bangor Symphony Orchestra who hires out for lessons. She has been my tutor since May, 2003---my 70th birthday.

Lori put me into a community band right away and I have been playing socially ever since. It wasn't long until I got invited to join the Sebasticook Valley Commnuity Band in Newport, Maine. It is an outgrowth of an adult education program that meets weekly except for a brief vacation in August. It has an active concert schedule throughout the year but there is no active website for me to point you to learn more about it. Currently we meet on Sunday evenings at 5:30 pm in the music room at the Corinna Elementary school where our director is the music teacher.

A couple years ago, Lori began to press me to join the Bangor Band where I could play with expert musicians and challenge my growth to play better within a group. This is an audition band and I did manage to pass to full member status after using up my 'free' trial period. Lori was right---it has been a gratifying experience---and I am happy to be a member of this very active and popular band. It is the concert band of Bangor and has been in continual existence since 1859. This is believed to be the oldest continuous functioning band in America but we have no real proof of that claim. You can go to the band website at: the Bangor Band to learn more about the band and follow its schedule.

The third group I am involved with amounts to nothing more than an informal 'jam' session on alternate Wednesdays. There are about eight of us that meet at Bill Stetson's home in Brewer. Bill is in his 90's and has played in one group or another throughout his life since his early teens. Another 90+ - year old is Leo Thayer who is just two weeks younger than Bill. Leo also has played music actively throughout his life and is a longtime friend with Bill. Leo plays the clarinet but Bill plays a variety of instruments and still transposes in his head as he plays different instruments. Bill's current instrument of choice is the valve trombone but not too long ago he often played the trumpet. Basically we meet at Bill's place to give these oldtimers a chance to continue playing in a group but occasionally we meet at the VA Home to give a concert there as a way to provide some entertainement for the old vets. This group specializes in playing old-time band arrangements for a variety of music ranging from Dixieland to Mellow Dance and Swing favorites. In between pieces, Bill will often regale us with stories from his past experiences of playing long nights at places across the full length of Maine. This group has no website or public information available as we just 'are'.

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This site last updated on Feb 20, 2012