Lyndel D. “Lindy” Brumley, Trumpet
You started me out on trumpet, giving me my first lessons when I was in the fifth grade in Winnebago, Nebraska. Even though I suspect you probably don’t remember me, you were the one who took the time and made the effort to introduce me to the trumpet, for which I will be eternally grateful. I still remember that first lesson very well. After two years of bugging you to play the trumpet (you said I couldn’t start until I had all of my front teeth), you finally let me begin on, I believe, either September 15th or September 16th, 1957. I came into your office, and there was a new trumpet on the counter. You had acquired a Holton Collegiate student trumpet as a present to me from my parents. I remember you gave it to me, and I tried to play it by simply blowing into the mouthpiece. I knew nothing about playing a wind instrument. You showed me how to form an embouchure and “buzz.” By the end of the session, I was able to make recognizable sounds on the instrument – and I was off . . . so to speak. After about six or seven lessons you said it was time to become a member of the band, which included all student musicians from the fifth grade (I was the youngest) to seniors in high school. I played in the band at all of the home football games and even marched in a parade in Sioux City the following spring. I never looked back, and I never played in a beginning or grade-school band . . . ever.
I gave that trumpet to my son when he was in the fifth grade. Interestingly, after less than two years of playing, he decided to play electric bass and tuba. As a high school senior he received the John Phillip Sousa Award on tuba.
Although I did major in music through the first semester of my senior year at university and played professionally from 1965 through 1969, I did not make a career of music, opting instead for a career in business after playing for four years in a U.S. Army band during the Vietnam War and after earning my B.S. and an M.B.A. degree from Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. I still play the trumpet – as well as cornet and flugelhorn – for personal enjoyment . . . mostly jazz. At this point I’m simply practicing – trying to get my embouchure back into shape. I’ve been listening to jazz for years – decades, in fact – so I’m working on my improvisational skills as well. I’ve been either downloading transcriptions of jazz solos from various artists, including Miles Davis, Chet Baker, John Coltrane, Lee Morgan, Clark Terry, Kenny Dorham, Dexter Gordon, Louis Armstrong, etc., or I’ve been transcribing them myself. Phoenix still has a pretty healthy stable of very fine musicians who play regularly. We’ll see.
Although it’s been over fifty-one years, I want to express my appreciation for your helping me to get started in music. Thank you. Music has been an important part of my life – and in the lives of my children. Indeed, my son-in-law is one of Doc Severinsen’s favorite bass trombone players. I’m sure you have been very influential in the lives of a great number of students over the past five decades – and probably not just in music. I hope you’ve had a very successful and fulfilling career - indeed, a life well-lived. Again, thank you.