GLENN MILLER'S TROMBONE GETS AN AIRING
Trombonist Marcus Reynolds at
THE GLENN MILLER FESTIVAL CLARINDA
TOO LITTLE TIME
In recent years Big Band Buddies magazine has written several articles about my career which was cut short a few years back when I fell off the back of the stage when I was playing lead and as I hit the ground my trombone smashed into my mouth. When I came around in the hospital I knew my career was over.
After an operation and with a
determination to play again I went back to basics attempting to play
my trombone again but it took me a long time to just find five notes
and this allowed me to play tunes like Teddy Bears Picnic
and other nursery rhymes buskin, at least it was a start for me to earn
some money again. It has taken me many years to arrive back with the
Confidence to once again stand as lead trombonist, which I have done
now for a year or two as well as MD to several local bands. Big Band
Buddies has made it possible for me to make contact with some very important
people in my life as you will have read about, but recently the call
from Bill Baker would turn out to be one fantastic adventure, and one
that took an amazing twist and had me in front of the stage in Clarinda
wondering how I came to be playing with probably the most valuable trombone
in the world.
At 4pm we were invited to a very special ceremony the historic ground breaking of the soil where the new 'Glenn Miller Museum' is going to be built, and there a large poster saying "YOU BUILD IT AND THEY WILL COME".
5.00pm was a picnic at the Academy in Clarinda, and low and behold who was standing in line just behind me but none other than Ray Eberle's son and daughter Jan Eberle and Ray Eberle jnr.
We enjoyed some excellent beef and refreshment at this event the beef supplied by local company Taylor & co. and then it was off to the concert hall for our first concert of the week.
During the interval of the concert a lady by the name Pat McAndrews came up to the table where Anne my promotions manager was selling Bill Bakers programmes and my CD's and laid a trombone case on the table. She looked at me and said, "Miller's trombone". I looked at her with an enquiring and puzzled expression and said, "What did you say?" She replied, "Glenn Miller's trombone".
Now totally bewildered I said, "And what would you like me to do with it? She replied with a smile on her face saying, "We'd like you to play 'Too Little Time' on it". I gulped in surprise and stuttering my words said, "B, b, but I'll need time to blow it, and get the feel of it, and grease the slide, before I can just go on a play a tune on it". Well after a little while I managed to persuaded Marvin Negley, who is the president of the Glenn Miller Birthplace Society, and protector of this treasured trombone, to allowed me to play the whole of the second set using Glenn's own trombone so I could get a handle on the way it played.
This trombone was one that Glenn had given to Jimmy Priddy just before Glenn went overseas. Later Jimmy Priddy had donated it to the GMBS Museum.
The concert was being filmed at the time not only by Anne my assistant but also by a Japanese television crew courtesy of Hidiomi Aoki, the president of the Japanese Glenn Miller Society, so it looked like everyone wanted to make sure there was a record of me playing the hallowed instrument of the great man. It became even more pressure for me now as I did not want to let myself down, or Glenn Miller.
My unexpected and most thrilling moment had
arrived as I put the mouth piece to my lips and began to play that haunting
tune on this most famous and valuable trombone. As the piece came to
an end and I heard the applause I felt I had done well. I held the trombone
up as many had never seen Glenn's trombone before and
A rare special moment for me, and at the end
of the concert I was followed out of the concert hall by many fans patting
me on the back as I returned the very special instrument to it's case.
The rest of the week was taken up with shows on the back of trucks touring the town, a sing-along in a coffee bar with singers Margareet and Annelis, the girl singers in Bill's band, who with Egbert Kemner our MD sang a delightful rendition of "Sentimental Journey" which received loud applause from the patrons.
I did a couple of numbers with Oleg "I left my Heart in San Francisco" being one. We then returned to catch up with the 312th US Army band. They were meant to be playing in the open air but the rains had come so they were forced to play in the school hall.
We had the Big Band Breakfast at 7.00am, dancing
and eating pancakes, maple syrup, potatoes & waffles all this to
wonderful backdrop and the glorious sound of the Tom Daugherty Orchestra
and his singers I managed time some off to get to see the official Glenn
Miller Band directed by Larry O'Brien's and they were an outstanding
outfit. Larry played "Stairway to the Stars" I wonder if he
gives trombone lessons?
This Picnic was followed by a Boulevard show right in the middle of the street for the best part of four hours, and by the end of it we were absolutely shattered. We had played seven concerts in 4 days. Monday the bus home and lots of e-mail's to answer from people who had seen me playing the trombone of the Legendary Glenn Miller.
I would not have experienced this trip if it had not been for Pete King who sent my Cd's to Paul Tanner and introduced me to Bill Baker. Paul Tanner sent me an original copy of his book 'Practice With the Experts' which I had used when I first started learning to play the trombone and which I had lost several years ago after lending it to someone. Paul sent me one of only three remaining copies he had which were published many years ago.
I can't thank Bill Baker enough for the wonderful trip, his kindness and faith in me, and overall friendship. A special thanks for the wonderful hospitality extended to us by all in Clarinda especially Ron, Amm & their daughter Kristine.
To "Big Band Buddies" for making all these contacts possible.
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(Photo's courtesy Anne Wilson)
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