"7:30 PM, Nov 18th, 1983"
An MF fan submission by Jeff Kwasniewski.
It was November 18th 1983, my junior year in high school. My big day was here at last - Maynard was bringing his troops to my little high school- Perry High School, in Perry, Ohio. I was the 1st chair/lead trumpeter in my school bands. I was called a "Maynard Freak". All I wanted was to listen to and play MF stuff. I had a rather good range and playing ability. I had seen Maynard play numerous times prior to this day. My first encounter was in 8th grade when my English teacher (of all people) played Conquistador on a turntable for background music one day. It blew my mind! I found my niche - I must pursue Maynard! I was made a "Freak"! Back to the 18th - I was so fired-up I could hardly stand it. My band director, Greg Kochan, and I waited for MF's bus to come along the road. We pretended that we didn't want them to get lost or miss the school, but we really wanted to ride the bus! When the band came rolling down the road, we flagged them down and hopped on! There was Maynard, friendly as could be, with a bunch of hungry looking band members!
We got to the school, started unloading, and Ed Sargent made me MF's "Personal Valet". My job was to stand by and wait on MF! Oh my, that was tough (grin). Alan Wise was playing lead and Hoby Freeman was there, Dennis DiBlasio was there, Steve Weist was there, Oh what a crew! I heard a guy playing outrageous screamers on a trumpet and asked Alan who the trumpeter was and he said it was the bass player! Nice chops!
The band warmed up on the stage in our little gymnasium with Bebop-buffet. It didn't sound quite right, then the Boss said - Ok, up an octave - ahh, that sounded better! 10 minutes into it and they were ready to eat and get ready for the gig. MF let out a few squeaks and lip trills on the trumpet, and Ed said it was time to start. I walked MF to the stage where he awaited Alan's "Ladies and Gentleman, Mister MAY-NARD Ferguson". I quickly took my front row, center, seat and was dazzled by the first half of the show. At intermission, I went to the bandroom with MF and the guys. Maynard called me to the Band Office and said he heard I was a good player. I said I thought so, for a high school player. He asked what I was playing and I told him "a Bach Strad", and he laughed and said, "sorry, get out of here" then chuckled and said that it wasn't an MF horn but it would do!!! He called Alan in and told him to show me the charts for the second half because MF was going to call me up to the stage to play with the band! I about fainted! Alan showed me the charts, and they were exactly as I played along on the recordings with!
The medley, in particular was very exact to the original songs. We went out to start the second half. The band played "As time goes by" with Hoby on lead. After, MF paused and introduced "his good friend Jeff" and asked me to join the band. I stood next to Alan and the show continued! When the medley started, Alan simply said "don't miss the low 'g' on the beginning to Maria. All the high notes in the world don't matter if you can't get the low ones, and the Boss won't like it!" I just skipped that note to make sure! When it came time for the trumpets to come out front for Chameleon, we played and I kept up - until MF started the upper register cranking. He stood next to me, and it was as if when he played he shoved the air right back into my horn!! What an energy I could feel from him. After exchanging a few gestures, handshakes, and bows, we broke to go out to the audience for Hey Jude. I was dead center in the audience, in the rear, with Alan. I could see my friends jaws drop! We played Hey Jude and it was wild and obnoxious!
After all was said and done, the band finally closed for the evening. I couldn't tell you what was played for an encore. I was completely euphoric. After the show, I went on the bus with The Boss. He signed my Storm album and said "you've got a good set of chops. Keep your feet on the ground." That was about it. Time to say good bye and roll on.
I saw the band many times after that. Alan signed a picture a year later and said "Always remember 8va taste" in regards to the Maria 'g'.
I haven't seen MF since the day before I joined the Navy, Sept 01, 1987 at the Cleveland Zoo. It was a small, nice little venue, and it was good to see the Boss, as always. February 16th, 1997, MF and the boys played at my high school again. I wasn't there, but I am sure that they touched someone as I have been touched. Thanks for the memories, Boss.