Serendipity: “Making fortunate discoveries by accident.” I’m a new 7th grader in a new school, sitting in the room for new students interested in joining the boys’ glee club. It didn’t take long for me to realize that, hey, this guy’s not talking about singing, he’s talking about musical instruments. Whoops, wrong room. Anyway, this stuff sounded like fun. The next thing I knew I was learning the trombone. Best mistake I ever made. (Never did make it to the glee club.) I switched to tuba in the 10th grade and added string bass in the 11th.
At the University of Illinois, where I received my B.S and M.S in electrical engineering, I enjoyed four years on the football field with my sousaphone in the school’s “Marching Illini,” and earned a good portion of my college expenses by playing my string bass in local dance bands and small jazz groups.
After a two year stint in the Army as the Missile Maintenance Officer in a Redstone missile battalion. (That’s the missile—but not our unit—that sent Alan Sheppard into space), I moved to Rochester to work on military radio design at General Dynamics. A few years later I moved to Xerox where I designed the electronic architecture of Xerox’s first computer printer, then moved on to manage the data network engineering function for the company’s U.S. operations.
About a year before my retirement my wife, Sue, decided to learn an instrument (tuba) in New Horizons. Her involvement with NH relit the fire in my musical roots, and I joined the band (the only one at that time) in 1997.
A year later, with the help of our low brass mentor, I started a tuba/euphonium ensemble, and somewhere along the way dreamed up our name, “Brasso Profundo.” In the years prior to our becoming an official part of New Horizons I managed the group, hiring and paying our coaches, collecting funds from members, and planning performances.
By 2004 (I think) the single band had grown so large that there were numerous complaints about its size. To address this issue, the Band Council was formed. I was a member of this council that developed the proposal for the two bands with sectionals we currently have. Later, as chairman, I presented the proposal to the band for its approval. While we were developing the two-band proposal we perceived a need for a band handbook. I wrote the first one based on council discussions, and continue to maintain the current handbook.
Currently I am playing in the Symphonic Band, Brasso Profundo, the Big Band, the orchestra, the Irondequoit Concert Band, and the Meigs Street Ramblers Dixieland group.