TWO: A DAY WITH THE MF BAND
The following images were taken at one of Maynard Ferguson’s high school appearances. At the bottom are a few excerpts from fan letters.
The band was often contracted to arrive in the afternoon to work with students in sectionals and masterclasses. Then, near the end of the evening’s concert, the entire school band, or just the horns would be invited on stage to join in the big finale. It was “Hey Jude” in the early 70’s, and later became the theme from “Pagliacci.” Towards the late 70’s, the theme from “Rocky” took its throne as the closer and the decibels from the audience were earsplitting.
“Listen to everyone. Learn from everyone. Then be yourself.”
Dennis & Ron
Dennis Noday and Ron Tooley answering questions from the trumpet students.
Bassist Gordon Johnson (drummer Peter Erskine in the background) talks about the challenges of being the rhythm section in a band with so much hot brass.
Pianist Biff Hannon fielding questions from the students.
Drummer Peter Erskine talking with one of the drum students.
Maynard’s clinics were a rare opportunity for students to meet and talk with professional musicians.
Saxophonist Mike Migliori during a saxophone sectional shares some of his “know-how.”
Trombonist Roger Homefield demonstrating his approach in a trombone sectional.
Nick Lane rehearses the high school trombone section. That night they will “sit in” with Maynard and the band.
Sax player and flutist Bobby Militello teaching his tricks during the saxophone sectional.
Three young students during rehearsal for the evening concert.
It’s Hard Work
After a full afternoon of sectionals, the students rehearse their part for the evening concert.
Ready To Play
Maynard was always thrilled by the enthusiasm young players had for learning music.
The high school brass in action.
During the concert Maynard jokes around with the musicians on stage.
Bobby Militello & Maynard
Bobby Militello soloing with Maynard playing shaker in the background.
Maynard Ferguson ready to do his thing.
Raising The Roof
Near the end of the concert the horns play amongst the audience as Maynard conducts from the stage.
“Then the day I will never forget came, when Maynard and Big Bop Nouveau came to my high school and put on a clinic and a concert. I had never heard that kind of energy put through a trumpet, or for that matter any instrument. I was amazed beyond belief and fell in love with the trumpet that night. I began looking for every trumpet album I could find, mostly jazz. Because of that night, the world of trumpet, jazz, and music was opened up to me. From that point on I have wanted nothing more than to play for the rest of my life.”
Thank you so much Maynard and God Bless.
Zachary (Student) – Ashtabula, OH
“When we arrived at the school, most of the students were gone but Maynard’s bus was pulling into the parking lot right behind us. My friend and I helped unload the bus. And each trip into the gym took us past Maynard. Finally he asked me if I was a student at the school. I told him I wasn’t, but I was a student of his. He asked if I was a trumpet player and before I knew it had me laying down on a table and was talking about breathing and yoga.”
Kurt (Future Music Educator) Sacramento, CA
“I was a very serious/worrisome/boring person during that time. I relate that to not having/finding a spark in my life… something to make me say wow! I had many things. A great family… lots of sports to play… lots of everything… but nothing that hit my soul. Until July 1987, the day I sat down in the second row to watch High Voltage. It was the day my life changed…the day I became thirsty for life/music. I will never forget how this gray haired fellow strutted out on stage with these 20 somethings…and started to play High Voltage as the opener… My breath was literally taken away! I had so much energy… he had so much energy… I nearly wanted to run on stage and tackle MF… it was that bad! That day changed my life!”
Dan (Future Banker) Minneapolis, MN
“The thing is, I was growing up in a rough neighborhood, and my newfound interest in Jazz music and the inimitable Maynard Ferguson broadened my horizons and involved my mind in every nuance of the music world. I began playing trumpet, which I only became average (read 2nd chair in my school marching and jazz bands), and later the trombone and valve “bone” (in silver). I spoke about Maynard to anyone who would listen, and today I teach my three children about jazz beginning with Maynard. My life would not have been as full to date without the “Man” and his music. I appreciate his life, his virtuosity, his passion for music, the breadth and depth of his unique sound, and his ability to help a young boy dream.”
Craig (Future Commercial RE Appraiser) Minneapolis, MN
The Legend Lives On
His music moved generations. Continue the movement.