My music career began at the age of seven when my sister and I started taking piano lessons. My home life revolved around two sisters, my brother and me. Dad was working two jobs and mom staying at home to take care of us kids, and forcing me to practice. My mother was key in my life regarding music. When I was ten years old I had to opportunity to pick a band instrument. During that time a sax player named Boots Randolph had a TV show that I watched every week. I wanted to play the sax like Boots and chose the saxophone.
Going to a public school I participated in concert, pep and marching bands through my senior year. Also, I joined a band that played in the Northern Kentucky area. We had a few rehearsals and played one gig. After the one gig the members decided they didn’t want any horns, so much for my first gig. Church was key in my life as a soloist since I was performing regular solos for the congregation. This developed my passion for playing and performing.
I stopped playing after high school for two years while I attended college towards getting an associates degree in Mechanical Engineering. In 1977 I missed playing music, so I started taking lessons and passed an audition and enlisted in the Army Band program. After basic training, I spent six intensive months at the School of Music in Norfolk, Virginia. In addition to eight hours of school each day I had mandatory practice of thirty hours per week. I was assigned to the 113th Army Band in Ft. Knox, KY and for the next three years I traveled five states, performing with the concert, jazz, marching, dixeland and rock bands. I have played the National anthem for the Derby five times in addition to playing for two presidents. In 1980, after my enlistment, I moved back home to Northern Ky. and joined the 100th Division Army Reserve Band in Hebron, KY and started my career in engineering. The reserve kept me playing at a time when my life was too complicated to do anything else musically.
Still in the reserve, my gigging life picked up in 1987 when I joined a group called the Marksberry Orchestra as the lead alto player. Weddings and parties made up the thirty or so jobs we played each year. This was also the same year I started my advertising agency.
I began subbing with other bands in addition to performing solos again for church congregations. In 1995, I accepted an opportunity to teach the saxophone and currently have twelve students.
I retired from the reserve in January 2001 as the 1SG of the 100th Div. Army Band. Retiring had me wondering what I was going to do with my musical career now that I was free of the military. The day I retired I received a phone call to become a member of BlueStone Ivory. I do not believe the call was a coincidence, it was fate. So now I am having a great time with a group of excellent musicians, playing music that is well received and lots of fun.
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