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Maynard Ferguson in New Mexico

Submitted by Mitchell Tyler

...the reason I wrote was to relate a Maynard Experience that my friends and I had last year. We were all playing in a high school Jazz band at Eldorado High School, Albuquerque, New Mexico. We had already had a banner year. We had played for President Clinton when he came to town campaigning. We were named the top band and the UNM Jazz Festival, and had opened, and received a standing ovation, for the Caribbean Jazz Project. Late in the year, we heard that Maynard was planning on coming through the area and was looking for a band to open and sponsor him. Of course we all jumped at the chance to open for the man that whetted our interest in jazz.
     When the night finally came, we opened to a sold out theater for Maynard. We were all very excited and played the best we all could. We received a standing ovation from the crowd who came to see the Man, and it was a great feeling. After Maynard played a remarkable show, we all got on to the stage and played "Theme From Rocky" with the band. It was truly an experience I will never forget.
     Afterwards, Maynard was signing autographs, and since we were helping tear down, we were some of the last to go to the table and get our assorted CD's and pictures signed. With almost everyone gone, we persuaded Maynard to get into a group picture with several members of the band, including myself. We also got a picture of him with our band director, which we blew up as a graduation gift.
     Over all, it was a wonderful experience for us all to treasure, as we were able to play with a hero of jazz, a man that many of us aspire to be one day.

Mitchell Tyler, baritone saxophone.

ps...I am the one leaning on Maynard's right shoulder.