I am a native of Hartford, Michigan (on I-94, between Kalamazoo and BentonHarbor/St. Joe). My band director throughout my years there was a Frenchhornist and had been a military bandsman before becoming a band teacher – soI was fortunate to have good instruction on the Horn, although my parentswould not send me to private lessons (they didn’t believe in spending moneyon it, since “you won’t play it after high school, and only the mosttalented and lucky make a living at music”).
In High School I was first chair for three years in a section of five French Horns – a pretty largeHorn section for a Class C high school band. I was chosen to participatefor two years in the District All-Star Band, as well as a second regionalAll-Star Band that met at Western Michigan University. My senior year inhigh school – 1982, I was chosen as my school’s John Phillip Sousa awardwinner.Then after the Memorial Day Parade, I said goodbye to the French Horn – Ihad gotten a new Silver Conn 8D each of my three years as first chair, whilethe School bought new instruments. I did not own my own Horn, so after somany years of loving Band, I walked away with only my old Farkas MDCmouthpiece.25 years later, I told Mike Judd that I had played Horn in High School andwould play again if I had something to play. So, Mike made one magicallyappear for me – it was free! A 1962 or 3 Reynolds Contempora – a prettygood old horn for its age, according to the Contempora Corner Web site. So,I began playing with Mike in our small Portland Orchestral Society, andbegan to get some range back. Then, my detour to the trumpet began. Thesingle trumpeter in the Portland Orchestral Society was told he couldn’tplay any more due to high blood pressure, so I switched to cover the part.
Not long after that, my husband and I, (He’s a Euphonium player who startedplaying again at the same time I did) started playing with the IoniaCommunity Band. At that time, I asked the director there whether he wantedme to play French Horn or trumpet. He favors trumpets, so that’s what heasked me to play (he said, unless I opted to play a marching French horn –which I consider a non-instrument). In the trumpet section there, I playwith a guy who was a pro who toured with Maynard Ferguson, Woody Herman andChuck Mangione, among others, and who was in the McDonald’s High SchoolAll-American High School Band. I had never taken lessons as French hornist,but took some lessons on trumpet from him and got some sterling practiceadvice. I have woodshedded on the trumpet for two years, but find myselfnow wistful for my old friend the Horn. I am now taking it back up withintent to double on both instruments, and with new practice habits I havelearned on the trumpet. It is tough making the fingerings completelyinstinctive again, but it is coming back rapidly.
I love hanging out and learning with fellow musicians, and am quiet a geekabout it.