Making Room for the Kids

Yesterday I sent retirement gifts to my old friends and colleagues Ralph Sauer and Jeff Reynolds.

The first time I saw Ralph was while sitting in the hall of the Eastman School of Music with Emory Remington, the Chief, one of the great all time brass teachers. He pointed out a young, not yet fully-grown adolescent getting on the elevator and said,“That boy is a student of mine in the preparatory department, someday he will be one of the most important trombone players around.”

The Chief was always right!

Jeff Reynolds was one of my first students in 1964 when I first arrived in Los Angeles after my time in Amsterdam. I can say without hesitation that I singularly learned far more about brass playing and music from Jeff than he ever learned from me, and not to be maudlin; we were a great team.

The trombones and tuba section in every orchestra is a very special thing, it's a bonding of manhood (or Colleaguehood, to be politically correct) something like an aboriginal tribal hunt, we worked together, depending on each others strengths, and accomplished far more together than any of us could have done alone. I have to say that I have never experienced that kind of bonding before or after.

It was not always serious work with us; we were all world-class virtuosos at having fun. Perhaps I will not discuss all the revelries we shared during our mutual tenures, but living here in Japan I am reminded daily of high points shared here of our past good times. Just a few days ago, for example, while riding the Shinkansen train from Kyoto to Tokyo, I remembered on some train ride in Japan when Ralph and Jeff, both extreme train enthusiasts, decided to “explore” the train. Soon we unbelievably found ourselves in the unmanned cockpit of the locomotive. Somewhere there's a photograph of Ralph sitting in the engineer's seat with his hands on the controls! Especially after living here in Japan for a year, I'm very happy we weren't discovered in that situation, it would have been serious.

I wish Ralph and Jeff pleasure and fulfillment in this new part of their lives and I thank them for the memories of our happy history.

Roger Bobo, August 17, 2006, Tokyo

Copyright 2006 ROGERBOBO,COM