Ponce de Leon Junior High - 03/05/1971 Here is a picture of my first concert ever. I took up band and began playing the trombone in 9th grade. I started playing an instrument two years after most other students who take band in school. However, I made a lot of progress very quickly: When 9th grade started, I was in the beginnerís band. Only a couple of months later, I was transferred to the intermediate band. Soon after that, I finally ended up in the wind ensemble (pictured here), which was the top band. One might wonder, how did I get ahead so fast? It was Mr. Blum, my band teacher and mentor who recognized my abilities and who insisted on promoting me from the beginnerís band all the way to the top symphonic band in only less than half a yearís time. He was a very kind and understanding man, and really cared about his students. Mr. Blum was amazed by how I became so dedicated to music. There was a reason for this, but strange enough, it had absolutely nothing to do with music! It was Kathy Hirschman (you can barely see her in this picture), my first love, who inspired me to learn to play a musical instrument. She was in band, played the clarinet and was first chair. When I was in 8th grade, she was in my English class. I wanted to get to know her better, so I decided to sign up for band the following year. Her playing ability was way ahead of mine, but that didnít stop me. I learned how to play the trombone really fast (itís amazing what love can do to someone!) and I ended up in the same band she was in only about 6 months after I started playing this instrument. For me, it was mission accomplished! It is thanks to Kathy that I eventually became a professional musician. In the middle of this picture is Ben Weiss playing the electric bass guitar. In the trombone section, from right to left are section leader Charles Triester, Ismet Kursunoglu, Joel Cantor and me, of course.
(Photo from the April 1, 1971 issue of The Rambler)