Playing for the inauguration of a president

During my career in the U.S. Navy Band in Washington, DC, I played for many inaugural parades and some inaugural balls. These were usually cold and sometimes wet (I never played in the snow for one).  I remember President Obama’s first inaugural parade, when the whole production stopped for two hours because Senator Ted Kennedy collapsed with a seizure. The band was already on the street, so we had to wait there in the 20-something degree weather until the parade started again! There were many great musicians in the Navy Band when I was a member, including Nathan Zgonc, who now plays trombone in the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra–he was also there on that first Obama Inaugural Parade.

This year, there will be a virtual “Parade Across America” and a 12-year old trumpeter from Atlanta, named Jason Zgonc, will be one fo the performers. Jason is the son of Nathan! Jason’s story provided inspiration last year during the pandemic. He would play his trumpet to salute healthcare workers at Emory Healthcare in Decatur every night through the summer. Check out this wonderful news interview (link is external and cannot be embedded)!


No tags for this post.

A remembrance of Sammy Nestico

A couple of days ago, world-renowned arranger, Sammy Nestico, died. I will alway cherish memories of high school and college jazz band, learning to play his charts–especially “, Straight Ahead.”

As a college trumpet teacher teaching a wide range of trumpet interests in my studio, I will occasionally get out the “Basie-Nestico” lead trumpet book compilation published by Kendor.

For my jazz/commercial-oriented students, I will often recommend a great solo by –“Portrait of a Trumpet,” dedicated to Conrad Gozzo. I’d like to share a live performance I did of this piece seven years ago. RIP, Sammy Nestico.