SAGE ADVICE ALONG THE WAY
by SFC(R) Lori D. Salimando-Porter
When I first heard the trombone in the 5th grade, I just loved the sound. I attended a very small school in Chazy, New York, up on Lake Champlain; only 700 students in grades Kindergarten through twelve. My teacher, Bud Bentley, was an excellent bass trombone player and teacher. He played the recording of the Eastman Trombone Choir, conducted by “The Chief,” Emory Remington, for his 5th graders. What a sound for a 10 year old to hear! Bud was my teacher until I graduated from high school and his sense of humor, musicianship and love of the trombone were great inspirations to me. He would tell me “if you’re going to be a principal player, then darn it lead the section!” THANK YOU, BUD!
Potsdam State University , and the Crane School of Music, was my next stop. For two years, I studied trombone with Dick Cryder. What a beautiful, lyrical and musical sound he has. He helped me immensely with developing my tone and playing as a soloist. THANK YOU, DICK!
I was then on to the Eastman School of Music for two years of study with Dr. John Marcellus. What an honor it was for me to become part of the Remington/Eastman legacy. Doc, as he’s fondly known by his students, taught all of us about surviving in the music world. He would say if an audition or performance didn’t go well, “set ‘em up in the next alley!” I have reflected upon that phrase more than once. THANK YOU, DOC!
A few years passed for me in the music business, and I was fortunate to have crossed paths with Dr. Terry Cravens, who teaches trombone and is chairman of the Wind and Percussion Department at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles . He really knows how to lay down the bottom with his bass trombone. He is such a kind, sincere human being. Terry used to tell me he really liked my playing, but he did have a couple of suggestions. “Please Lori, try and do one of the things I’m asking you to do.” I was fortunate to work with such a patient man. THANK YOU, TERRY!
Moving back to the East coast to play with the West Point Band has provided the opportunity to study with Joe Alessi of the New York Philharmonic. Joe is a hero to trombone players worldwide for his musicianship and wonderful trombone playing. When he comes to perform with the West Point Band, he inspires everyone. He has asked me to “push the limit, like taming a wild animal.” His words, patience, caring and musical guidance have changed my life. THANK YOU, JOE!
Perhaps my greatest teacher was my mother, Marian C. Salimando. She told me I have “a beautiful and special sound.” Somehow, her confidence in me has carried me through the years; I’ve never forgotten how much she believed in me. Marian was the strength and light of our family and passed on to her four children her unique insight into dealing with the world. She always said “if you can get up in the morning and look yourself in the mirror, then who cares what anyone else thinks.” THANK YOU, MOM!
I hope that these experiences and words of wisdom inspire you to play the trombone and appreciate your teachers and colleagues along the way. I feel blessed to have had such great influences in my life. Each one of these teachers is a part of my sound and music every day. The journey so far has been beautiful. There have been a few bumps and ditches, but the mountaintops and stars have made it all worthwhile.
Written on 9/11 2003. Playing a 9/11 memorial ceremony in Albany, N.Y. with the Concert Band this morning made me want to publicly thank those people in my life who have been so giving and inspiring.