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Playing the trumpet was a lot of fun

Posted Tuesday, July 20, 2010, at 1:33 PM

I was inspired to play the trumpet by watching the flying fingers of Bill Terhune and Jack Messick when they played Sousa Marches at Rambler basketball games. I remember buying my Buescher Aristocrat trumpet from Bud Jewell Music Store in Worthington. My $50 horn now sells for more than $600.

Mr. Croy showed me how to buzz my lip into the mouthpiece and much like a vuvuzela sounds came out the other end; "G" above middle "C". I went home and promptly forgot how "G" sounded. I spluttered and splattered on the thing sounding like a drunken goose lost in the fog. At my next lesson he coached me again and I become the best trumpet player for miles around Dead Horse Creek.

The music room at WJHS still stands. It is a gray building with peeling paint that looks like an old garage sitting silently, forlorn and forgotten just north of the intersection of Main and Dayton Street. There were two rooms, one for choir and one for the band and I was in both. I spent many a wonderful hour there marinating in music.

The old school building circa 1875 sat at Main and Dayton until 1955 when it graduated and was torn down. I was in the first class that graduated from the "new" building in 1956. We marched on Memorial Day down to the cemetery for speeches, music and recitations and closed with taps often played by Warren Hines. Then we always marched in the July 4th parade in Linton and frequently attended band day at IU. What fun. Our wool uniforms were depot stove hot especially with a hat and a shirt and tie. I would sweat like Rush Limbaugh trying to explain his abuse of prescription drugs. I remember once wearing new shoes and that was a major mistake. They made blisters on my heels that were larger than the current oil slick in the gulf. When the parade ended we looked like Rumple Stiltskin and Rip Van Wrinkle

We also marched in the Fall Foliage Festival in Ellettsville where I ate my first peach ice cream. Yummo. That hit spots I didn't know I had. I enjoyed preparing for and playing in the solo and ensemble contest at Butler and IU. I still have many blue medals in my trumpet case denoting my great prowess. We also marched in the fall marching contest often held at Huntingburg. I had less sense then than now and often I blasted the mighty Buescher while marching and blew out my lip. I was just showing off. By the end of a parade my lip felt like a wet piece of tissue paper and about as effective in producing notes.

Camaraderie was strong in the band. Harold, Kenny, Judy, Mary Jane and I formed the German Band. We played many gigs that included three times on TV. One night at the 4-H Fair Talent Show the crowd would not let us quit. Graduation was sweet and sour. I was ecstatic to graduate yet sad as I played the last time with the Ramblers. I did play in the Navy Recruit Band at Great Lakes during boot camp and was extirpated from many undesirable duties. Hooray.

I stopped at the curb beside the old music room a couple of weeks ago and listened and I could hear the Rambler Band playing Stars and Stripes Forever; brought a tear to my eye.

Larry grew up north of Calvertville on a farm and graduated from Worthington High School. He lives in Plainfield and can be reached at Goosecrick@aol.com or (317) 839-7656. Write him at 6860 Sunrise Drive, Plainfield, Ind., 46168. He has written five books.

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Thanks so much for the blog. The band still plays on!

-- Posted by Music Man on Wed, Jul 21, 2010, at 7:15 AM

Great Story! I too played the trumpet but I attended Central High. Had so much fun and we won several awards and trophys for our many efforts. I hated it too when I graduated because that meant no more band. I go to the parades now and see those kids marching and remember the fun we once had. Sure we worked for our routine when we went to the State Fair and smothered in our wool uniforms trying to get conditioned for that performance but it was well worth it. It would be so nice to go back and relive those days!

-- Posted by Scorpio1969 on Sat, Jul 24, 2010, at 12:21 AM

This takes me back. I played with the WHS band in seventh grade--played baritone, and I think you were on the end of the trumpet row--then moved to Linton where I looked at all the baritone players and a lonely sousaphone player, and asked Mr. Pirtle if I could try it. I continued playing tuba through college and after, and both my sons played tuba, too. (Their mother refuses to have so much as a brass doorknob in the house.) My aunt and uncle, Don and Betty Hutchison, live near the old band room, so I see it occasionally. Folks who saw "Hoosiers" don't believe I actually attended a school like that one--remember the study hall that held all of us from 7th grade to seniors? Mr. Hert was principal when I was there, and Mr. MacIntosh taught math and science. I sat hear Gary Short of Short's Shell Service, Phillip Horton, and others. Jack Messic's sister Carolyn moved to Linton and her folks ran a dry cleaning establishment. Nice pic, but why do you look so old? I still look like I'm 16, even if we did just have our 50th reunion at Linton High School. If you don't believe me, check my Facebook page.

Thanks for a great column.

-- Posted by Rod Seaney on Thu, Jul 29, 2010, at 10:25 AM

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