John Huntsman plays trombone, and like most others, started early, “Fourth grade, in East McKeesport, PA.
“I played trumpet through college, and trumpet and euphonium, as well. “
John came from a musical environment, “Indirectly,” he says, “my father was a preacher, and my wife was a preacher’s daughter.
“I began to play piano in kindergarten, and in fourth grade we were given a choice of the school’s instruments.”
Music is in his heart, he says, and it speaks the language of everything. The music in his head goes through to the instrument, with maybe some delay and interpretation.
“That’s why they call it one of the creative arts.”
Jeff Hilton came from a musical background, “My mother was a musician, a pianist, is a pianist, in Portsnouth, VA. There was always music in the house, and I started off, of course, on the piano.”
Jeff was the first of four boys, all musical, and in the ninth grade he took up the trumpet at the same time a younger brother took up the sax. “My dad liked Al Hirt.” More groups featured brass later, “Chicago and Blood, Sweat and Tears were my favorites because of the big brass.” The tidewater area of Virginia had a lots of military bands, and “There was a jazz aspect to a lot of them, too, and not just military music. They had some fantastic bands.”
Jeff played through high school and college, gave it up to get married, and his wife played piano , and they had children, and put it on hold until the children were gone, and picked it up again.
Juliann Knott started with the clarinet, in the fifth grade. Her brothers were in the band, and she picked up the clarinet to be in the marching band, in New Germany, MN.
“I came from a lot of dancers, polka dancers. Yes, accordions, but we let that go. I switched to saxophone in junior high, because I wanted to play big band.”
“I switched to big band because of Lawrence Welk, every Saturday we would watch Lawrence Welk.”
It was the dream, to be in his band one of these days, the inspiration. And it paid off.
Anthony Palumbo was born during the British Invasion, when the Beatles came to America.
“My mother always had music playing in the house,” he says, “and my father came home one day with a drum set that he was storing, and I thought I could play it.”
“”Oh, you’re pretty good,” my mother told me, but I probably wasn’t. I didn’t actually take lessons until I was grown up, I played by ear.”
“Probably one of the best things I ever did was learn to read music. When I was young I knew this guy who played in a drum and fife corps and he would write it out on paper for me, the rudiments, and that’s when I started to learn it. I was ten. I did a lot of self study, and I studied with a lot of teachers as I started growing up.”
“I love big band, like Benny Goodman, Gene Krupa and Sing Sing Sing. I heard that when I was a little kid and that just inspired me.”