Introducing the band

On trombone: John Wortman

John W

When I was six or seven I had a kazoo in the shape of a trombone. The slide didn't work too well as I went around tooting on it next to the school band when they marched down the street in Ionia, Michigan. There were piano lessons also but I didn't practice consistently. In the seventh grade, I went into the band room and said I wanted to be in the band and play trombone. I was given a left-handed baritone horn and some private lessons down in the basement of the school.
I played a baritone horn throughout high school and I took up the trombone so I could play in the school's dance band and for school dances after football games. In my senior year, I auditioned at Michigan State University with Leonard Falcone a renowned euphonium soloist and college band director. He offered me a four-year tuition scholarship which I accepted.
I played the four years in the MSU band on the euphonium and on the trombone in the Jazz Lab Band. Unfortunately, at that time I did not start a degree in music but graduated with a liberal arts degree in Social Science.
After several other occupations which included Insurance adjusting and work in a psychiatric ward I was drafted into the US Army at the start of the Viet Nam period. I was assigned to Fort Knox KY to the 158th Army Band for those two years to play the trombone after basic training. It was a relief knowing I was not to go into Advanced Jungle Warfare training like too many did.
After the army, with the GI Bill, I went back to MSU and acquired a bachelor of music education and later a master in music. I played first trombone with the symphonic band and first trombone in the Jazz Lab band at Michigan State.
I found a job to teach instruments in Melbourne, Australia, It was an eye-opening, wonderful experience for two years. I took a ship across the Pacific stopping at Aukland NZ, Tahiti, and the Panama Canal. Since then I have worked at many schools in California and in Tucson at Salpointe High School and Foothills School District and taught various courses in music at Pima College.
I retired from teaching in 2007 with the California State Teachers Retirement System and own a house here in Tucson's southeast side. Today, I occasionally substitute teach with the Tucson Unified School District. I now play in the Sonora Winds and The Tucson Concert Band and Retro Swing 7.