Larry Maddox, Bob Waner, Mel Smith, me, Jeff Tower, Bob Anderson
Going home is always special to me, but yesterday was surreal. I was filled with an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for all of the people who have continued to support me and believe in me as I strive to reach for my goals.
After performing at Disneyland the day before and getting to visit with my dear friend from band camp that I hadn't seen in 20 years, my sister drove up from San Diego to pick me up and drive me to our other sister's house. I was able to hang out with my nephews and niece in the morning and eat some authentic southern Californian breakfast burritos!! Yum!! They just don't make 'em like that back east.
Next I headed over to my alma mater, Hemet High School, to give a clinic to the HHS jazz band.
I was met by the band director, Dan Boulton, who I grew up with and played with in band through high school. The students graciously elected to come in on a Saturday morning for a clinic. Dan and I tag-teamed and worked with the students on several songs. It was truly bizarre to be back in the band room with my former classmate rehearsing the band instead of sitting in it!
"It never rains in California!"
Well, unfortunately, every once in awhile it does. We were supposed to play at the historic and beautiful outdoor Ramona Bowl amphitheater. It would have been a perfect back drop to an afternoon jazz concert, but the weather did not cooperate. Thankfully the community rallied together to secure a rain site and we played at the new (a relative term, since anything that has been built in the last 20 years in Hemet is new to me!) West Valley High School.
|Spidey and his new Hemet High sweatshirt|
Music is about so much more than I ever dreamed. The opportunity to reach out to people from all over the world and connect in a special way is one of the best things about my job in the Navy. I want to thank everyone who came out to the concert and made it a success as well as all of those hard working band directors, parents, families, and communities who support the arts and make it possible for a girl from the small town of Hemet to pursue her dream of playing trombone all over the world.
On to the next half of the tour. Leaving at dawn for a long drive in our equipment truck up to Monterey, Calif., with fellow trombonist Matt Neff. It's always an adventure! Gotta love it!
Musician 1st Class Jen Krupa plays trombone and is the leading petty officer of the Commodores.