Butch Warnke, Trumpet
Hi Dr. Zurcher!
Boy, it's been a LONG time…45 years to be exact!! How have you been? Congratulations on your Doctorate! I checked out your site…very nice…and quite an impressive resume.
As for music vs. sports…I REALLY wanted sports (baseball) and probably would have realized my dream had it not been for my knees and back problems. They BOTH plague me to this day. But I enjoyed every minute of the time I did have in sports. I also want to thank you for your support while I was in HS by attending my home baseball games. Now that I look back there's not many teachers that would do that kind of thing. You're definitely a class individual! I did do pretty well in music, though. When I get some free time I'll put together a little CD and send it to you of some of the groups I have played with. Some of the big band stuff I think you'd enjoy.
As per my classmates story, I have two beautiful grown daughters that I adore and a beautiful wife that treats me well. We moved to GA in 2003 right after I retired from Cornwall Schools. I like GA except for the traffic, which to be honest with you, is WORSE than the L.I.E. (if you can believe that!). I haven't played but one gig since we got down here mostly due to the traffic issue. I've been called to sub in a couple of big bands, but the gigs are always in downtown Atlanta on a Friday night. I live about 27 miles from Atlanta and on a Friday night, barring any car accidents, it could take me anywhere from 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 hours to get down there…and for $50…I don't think so!!!
Anyway, I think that's about it. Oh…OF COURSE you have my permission to put my Classmates story/resume up on your website…it would be an honor!
Take care of yourself and PLEASE stay in touch. I will do the same!
Your friend and ex-student,
OK, I figured I'd post an outline of my life since high school. Here we go!!!!
Orange County Community College, 1964-1966
Fredonia State University, 1966-1970 (Bachelor of Music Ed degree)
Western Connecticut State University, 1973-1976 (Master of Music Ed degree)
(Instrumental Music Teacher for 32-½ years!)
Middletown, NY Public Schools: 1/70 - 6/70
Valley Central, NY Public Schools: 9/71 - 6/72
Cornwall, NY Public Schools: 9/72 - 6/03
1961 - 1966: Played baseball in the Newburgh Rookie League (MVP in 1965) and the Orange-Ulster League
1962 - 1965: Had tryouts with MLB (Yankees, Cardinals, Mets, Dodgers). Unfortunately my hopes of a baseball career were short-lived due to a bad back and two bad knees (both of which have been operated on!). I did pretty well in each of the tryouts, but as soon as the scouts came in the locker room to talk to me and saw the back brace and my legs wrapped in ace bandages (which I had to do all through HS), I guess that sent up a red flag to them!!!
1971 - 1972: Played softball for a couple of years in the fastpitch Middletown Firemen's League (I let Neil Simmons talk me in to playing! I did hit over .600 each year, though!!!)
As for sports today I'm relegated to being a HUGE New York Yankees fan (except for A-rod...Jeter's my man! along with the Mick, of course!). I "play" every game with them and if I miss one, it gets TVO'd!!!
MUSIC PERFORMANCE CAREER:
Played trumpet professionally since 1966 to the present.
6/70 - 8/71: Toured US and Canada with a 6-piece show band from Buffalo, N.Y.
1966 - 1984 (18 years): Played in the show bands at various Catskills Resort Hotels such as Grossingers, Concord, Fallsview, etc. backing Tony Bennett, Lesley Gore, Vic Damone, Tiny Tim (yep!!!), Milton Berle, Red Buttons, Four Freshmen, etc. Performed in NY, NJ, and CT with various big bands, plus led my own 19-piece big band for 10 years;
1987-1998: Played drums with wedding and club bands in and around Middletown;
1998-present: I have played trumpet in big bands, small jazz groups, Dixieland bands, etc., taught private trumpet lessons to hundreds of students for the last 45 years and will begin teaching private brass students next month at a new music store that is just opening up about 10 minutes from my home!!! I also have a small recording studio in my house that I have fun with. I get to hear how bad I sound anytime I want to and can even print in to CD and annoy all of my family members!!!
Classical: John Ware (N.Y. Philharmonic), Richard Smith (Buffalo Philharmonic) and Cecil Collins (N.Y. Metropolitan Opera Orchestra)
Jazz/Lead: Carmine Caruso, Roy Stevens and Jerome Callet
EQUIPMENT: (For all you gearheads!!!)
Trumpets: Yamaha 8310Z "Bobby Shew" Model, Kanstul "Mariachi" (copy of an old Conn Connstellation)
Flugelhorn: Yamaha "Bobby Shew" Model
Playing and listening to music, of course! Anything jazz, big band, Dixieland, Chet Baker, Maynard Ferguson, etc.; Any western I can find on TV (the Western's channel runs 24/7!) along with any '40s-'50s B&W movies including detective stories, Dead End Kids, etc. on TCM; Recording in my studio; Practicing my trumpet; The New York Yankees on MLB TV (NEVER miss a game!); My dogs, reading (mostly biographies of athletes, musicians, and "B" western stars); And, most of all, my family!
Married in 1972-divorced in 1991. Two great kids...Becky, who's now 32, and Mandy, now 29. Both girls live within 20 minutes of me so I get to see them quite a bit and both have very good careers going. Becky has a stepson, Alex, who's into sports and she and her husband just adopted a 3-year old Russian boy (YES, I'm a grandpa!) who is very good looking and very smart (he definitely looks like a baseball player to me!!!) I got married in 2004 to a beautiful lady 18 years my Jr. (eh...keeps me young and active!!!). I should have known as she was the vocalist in my club/wedding bands for 16 years! I didn't want to rush in to it as we dated for about 12-13 years first!!!!! When I retired in 2003 I sold my Middletown house and had a house built in Lawrencevile, GA that we moved into in August of 2003. Gorgeous house, great property and I'm close to my girls. I also have two collie dogs...Jesse, a male sable, who's 11 years old, and Kayla, a female tri-color, who's 7. They're great company for me and are as smart as most humans!!!
That's about it! I'd really like to hear from old friends from high school. Send me an email...PLEASE!!! Who knows...maybe we can all get together for our own little reunion!!!