Mother knows best.
John: “The high school band director came and showed all the band instruments we can take lessons on at school!”
Mom: “What would you like to play?”
Mom: “No! What else did he have?”
John: “He said they needed trombone players.”
Mom: “Great! You can go ‘arrrrr, arrrrr, rup’ (imitating a trombone gliss).”
My fate was sealed.
From my innocent beginnings at Stoneham High School in Massachusetts, where I was very fortunate to have Tony Hyde as a band director, I have loved playing the trombone. From there, I studied with legendary Boston brass teacher John Coffey and played in the Greater Bostonians Youth Orchestra.
While at Towson University in Baltimore, MD, I studied trombone with John Melick, composition with noted jazz composer Hank Levy, and received a B.S. in music education. If you know anything about Hank Levy, you know I played a lot of arrangements in 5/4, 7/4, 9/4 and other exotic meters.
I cut my teeth as a professional while working for a theme park company in Cincinnati, OH, where, under the mentorship of Bruce Fisher, I learned the ins and outs of arranging and producing for production shows. I became a global traveler, working as an arranger and music director for a wide variety of shows for Kings Productions, Norwegian Cruise lines, Jean Ann Ryan Productions, Paramount Parks, American Entertainment Productions and more during this time.
Finally came the move to Nashville, my current home. This move not only expanded my arranging and producing career, but has also offered enormous opportunities for returning to my roots as a trombone player.
Through association with saxophone legend Jim Horn, I was hired to assist with arranging and music prep on six of Sting’s Rainforest Benefit concerts. Another cherished connection has been working with producer Mark Hornsby on always challenging, unusual and fun projects including arranging “Rewiring Genesis: A Tribute To The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway” both for CD and live performance, as well as a trip to Abbey Road Studios in London to record Kevin Gilbert’s “A Long Day’s Life” with the London studio orchestra. Once again, with a trombone on my face, Nashville has afforded me the opportunity to record and perform with a long list of artists, most notably on Martina McBride’s Everlasting Album and tour.
Also, during the past few years, I have developed a passion for music notation and music notation software. This has led to opportunities to consult, blog and lecture on this topic for AVID, Sibelius, Sweetwater and the Major Orchestra Librarian’s Association, as well as with established composers, arrangers and students.