Childhood Confessions: I Wanted To Be The Next Herb Alpert
It's funny how our dreams and visions change throughout the years.
Growing up in a musical family, there was a time when I thought music was my future. Early in my parents' marriage, they were traveling evangelists in the 50s. They both sang, my dad played the guitar and mandolin, and my mom played the accordion, piano, organ, and steel guitar.
Later on, my older brother played trumpet and was quite a fine singer.
While vocal skills eluded me and I struggled to be competent on the piano, I excelled on the trumpet in band. My junior and senior year of high school I managed to be the first-chair trumpet in the concert band and lead trumpet in the jazz band.
I thought, perhaps, this could go somewhere. Maybe I'm destined for The Lawrence Welk Show.
A side note, I remember the bumper sticker I had on my first car "Horn Players Have Great Lips," but, that's another story. Yes, this photo is of me as a senior band nerd in Brush, Colorado.
I idolized trumpet players like Doc Severinson from The Tonight Show, Maynard Ferguson, Phil Driscoll, Louis Armstrong, Chuck Mangione, gospel trumpeter Ray Torske, and, of course, Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass. Just maybe I could be the next Herb Alpert.
It was also during high school I developed an interest in broadcasting and some dabbling in radio, news reporting, and sportscasting. To make a long story short, I decided I was never going to be good enough on the trumpet to pursue my musical dreams, and opted for a career in broadcasting.
I still have that trumpet, though it just sits in the shed, gathering dust, and aging gracefully. It still brings back a ton of great memories of band trips, competitions, talent contests, and lots of practice.
The fact that Herb Alpert is still making music at age 84, (and Doc Severinsen is 92) gives me optimism that maybe there's something about playing the trumpet that extends your life. Maybe it's because you have to have good, strong, healthy lungs to play that instrument. Maybe I did enough trumpet playing in 10 years to give myself trumpeter's lungs.
It's just as well that I gave up the trumpet, though. I don't think the world is big enough for two Herb Alperts.
Regardless, it's pretty special for me to have Herb Alpert performing in Grand Junction. I've never seen him in concert, and you have to think there aren't many opportunities left. With five #1 hits to his credit, 9 Grammy's, 15 gold records, 14 platinum records, and 72 million records sold, this guy is truly a legend.
Herb Alpert appears at the Avalon Theatre in Grand Junction on September 24.