Introducing the band

On Trumpet: Richard Blickenstaff


Richard was born in Midland,Texas. His family moved to Tucson in 1960. Both parents and a grandmother were musicians playing the accordion and Banjo mostly in the Midwest. When asked what he wanted to play he answered "probably not the accordion". Even before starting to play the trumpet in 1960 he collected Harry James records . At the age of 11 Richard was able to take lessons from Frank Simon (Sousa's Solo Cornet Player) as well as from a number of touring professional trumpet players in the Tucson area. His first professional Swing Band experience was at the age of 14. He entered the University of Arizona as a music education major in 1968. In 1969 he joined the Navy and served in Florida and on Guam, playing in and directing bands at both duty stations. Having returned to the U of A Richard graduated in 1974 and started a 30 year career directing Bands and Orchestras in the Tucson area. He and his wife (who he met in High School Band) raised two children who both still live in the area. In addition to teaching Richard actively pursued a playing career. His professional playing includes: playing in Big Bands and small combos in the Tucson area for 50 plus years, 21 years playing with the Tucson Symphony,18 years as Principal trumpet of the Arizona Opera Company Orchestra, playing with touring shows such as Ringling Bros Circus,Ice Capades, Broadway musicals, Ballets, as well as soloing with choirs and orchestras in the Tucson area. In addition to Retro Swing7 Richard currently plays with the Tucson Civic Orchestra and directs The "Big Band Sounds of Green Valley".