My best friend and I took piano lessons from the choir director at our church. I lived six blocks from Phillips University in Enid, Oklahoma, and she would get a lot of music majors in the choir, and she would sing solos every once in a while. My friend Richard and I would sit in the front row, and we’d love it when she’d sing “In the Garden.” She would open her mouth so wide, we’d try to count the fillings in her teeth.
My parents were friends with the director of bands at Enid high school. He wrote an arrangement of Alexander’s Ragtime Band. When the chorus came on, the whole trombone section would stand up—and you can tell by my voice, I’d get the biggest case of goosepimples I’ve ever had in my life. “Come along, come along, let me take you by the hand.”