Welcome to my blog! I created this site in 2008 to provide a place for showcasing my photos and to provide information or links helpful to other photographers. As time has passed, I've added music videos and information as well. I will occasionally make comments, but will not preach or keep anyone from making comments of their own. Everyone is entitled to an opinion and I love the feedback! My goal is to make this website a regular destination for anyone who loves photography and music and wants to see what I've been up to.

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011


For anyone who lived in the late fifties and sixties, watched the Ed Sullivan Show on tv or was fortunate as I to meet this musician and actually perform with him on stage, the name Rafael Mendez will not be new.  He was described many times as the greatest trumpet player in the world.  When I was in high school, I played the clarinet in the band and our band director played a record album of Mr. Mendez for us.  We were amazed that anyone could play as dramatically as he. His music was famous for its long, staccato-like runs and for notes held forever.   He was truly a virtuoso, a master.

As a kid, I was enthralled.  I knew I would have to go buy his records!  But our band director, Gus Jackson, had more in store for us.  He arranged for Mendez to perform with our band in concert before the general public one evening.  He explained that Rafael, a world-class concert performer, enjoyed traveling across the country performing with school bands to give them a taste of what it was like to perform in front of large audiences with well-known celebrity musicians.  Mr. Mendez never asked for payment.  We practiced long hours learning to play several songs and then again in rehearsals with Mr. Mendez.

The one thing I remember about the rehearsals is that the songs we had to learn were played at a very fast tempo, requiring band members to perform at a much higher level of skill than they could imagine. We were amazed that we were able to pull it off, however. I think Mr. Mendez had discovered a long time ago that young people only needed to be inspired and they can become capable of exceeding their expectations.  After the concert, we celebrated at a local restaurant called Michelle's (recently closed its doors)  famous for its ice cream sundaes and candy.  Rafael Mendez, of course, was there signing autographs.  I ran across some music videos of Mendez in various concerts, but I selected this one because I think it demonstrates Rafael's incredible ability.  The song is "La Virgen De La Macarena".   Click Link.

And while you're at it, you might as well listen to "Czardas" HERE TOO. A live concert!

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