November ’13

The Band Room

Volume 113, No. 10November, 2013

Bill Crow

Linda Novis sent me this story that was told to her by her late father, Frank Pomerantz, who worked in New York advertising for over forty years. A colleague, Ken Silverbush at Hi-Fi Stereo magazine, told him that one day his phone rang. A voice said, “Hello, this is Sammy Cahn. I’m sure you know my work. I need a good stereo system. What can you do for a guy like me who just won an Academy Award for best song?” Without missing a beat, Ken put the receiver down on desk and applauded loudly, and then immediately hung up the phone. Cahn called right back, and thus began a long friendship.

Audrey Kimball sent me a story about her late husband, Ken, who was a colleague and friend of mine when I lived in Seattle. In the late 1950s, Ken was blown away by the playing of trombonist George Roberts on Sinatra’s recording of “I’ve Got You Under My Skin.” In the early 1960s, Sinatra played in Seattle, and Ken and Audrey bought the best seats in the house to hear him. During the intermission, Ken went to the orchestra pit to visit with some of the local musicians who had been hired to augment the key players who traveled with Sinatra. He chatted with one of the out-of-towners about the way the tour was set up, and as he left to return to his seat, he thanked the musician, shook his hand, and said, “Ken Kimball.” The musician replied, “George Roberts.” Ken was thrilled. “Not THE George Roberts?” The somewhat amused trombonist shrugged and said, “I’m the only George Roberts I know.”

Ian Royle forwarded the following to me:

Hello, you have reached the automated answering service for the music department. Please listen to all options before making a selection:

To lie about why your child missed their music lesson, press 1.

To make excuses for why your child did not practice last week, press 2.

To complain about what we do and comment that the procedures in other schools are much better, press 3.

To abuse the music director, press 4.

To ask why you did not receive information about concerts and rehearsals that was included in last week’s newsletter and several other bulletins posted to you, press 5.

If you would like the music staff to raise and/or adopt your child, press 6.

To request a change of instrumental teacher for the third time this year, press 7.

To ask for your child’s music lessons to be moved back to the original time after having asked us to change it three times already, press 8.

If you wish the music department to assume responsibility for the state of the railroads, and/or all other global problems, press 9.

To inform us that your child’s instrument was in the trunk of the car and had not in fact been stolen, press 0.

If, on the other hand, you realize that this is the real world, and that you and your children are accountable for your own actions, and that it is not always our fault, please hang up and have a nice day.

Abby Mayer told me about playing with the Indianapolis Symphony in the late 1950s, where he made friends with the orchestra’s gifted piccolo player, John Routenberg. For a special program, the conductor selected a gigantic work that called for several extra musicians, one of whom was a second piccolo player. At a rehearsal, during a passage that featured the piccolos, the conductor stopped the orchestra. “Routenberg, you have metal piccolo. It sounds very strident. Second piccolo has wooden piccolo which sounds very sweet.” After the rehearsal, John stopped at a hardware store and bought a spray can of paint. At home he painted his piccolo black. The next morning during rehearsal, the conductor again stopped the orchestra and said, “Routenberg! Ah, now you have wooden piccolo! It sounds much better!”

This is a note that was sent in by Brent Hahn:

In the late 70’s I was a very green assistant at National’s old Edison studio, where the owners were thrifty and the gear had seen better days.
A few minutes before downbeat on a big movie date, with Roger Rhodes engineering, Joe Beck got my attention. 

”Would you please tell Mr. Rhodes that this guitar amp has a nasty buzz?” Which I did. And Roger responded, “Please tell Mr. Beck that he’s absolutely correct.” 

Which I did. And Joe said, “Please tell Mr. Rhodes that I apologize. For a brief moment, I forgot where I was.”

Sheldon Sanov was a friend and colleague of the late violist David Schwartz, who told him about his adventures playing with the Glenn Miller Band which entertained the troops in Europe during World War II. Sanov noticed a photo on Schwartz’s wall that showed him getting a medal pinned on him, along with several other members of the Miller band. When he asked what it was for, Schwartz replied, with a straight face, “That was for playing ‘In the Mood’ 276 times with the Miller band.”