My Trumpet and the Conch
The conch shell is the most ancient wind instrument known to man. It is the messenger, symbolic in many cultures and still used in ceremony today. The conch shell is recognized as the first trumpet. Both the trumpet and conch shell have been very important throughout my life. It’s only in looking back that I discovered the thread.
My trumpet was made in France during the 1940’s. My uncle, who was a musician in the army band, brought it back from France right after World War II. It’s a very special trumpet! I started playing when I was eight years old and played through high school in the band and in marching band. At that time, it gave me a sense of belonging to something greater than myself. It took the whole band to make the music.
During college, I played my trumpet in a rock and roll band. I became a professional musician, meaning I got paid to play. I put myself through college doing what I loved to do. We were called The Major Six – five guys and me. As a woman trumpet player in a rock and roll band, I helped make our band unique. But more important, they were my good friends and I was part of the band.
After college, I got married, had a family and I put the trumpet away. I didn’t play for almost thirty years. I kept the music alive by playing and teaching piano. But the trumpet was silent. Occasionally I thought about it but the trumpet stayed in its case.
The conch shell was given to me during a challenging period in my life. I was at a crossroad, and the message it gave me was confidence and hope. At that time, my trumpet was still in its case and connecting the trumpet with the conch was just a fleeting thought.
Fast forward to just before my 40th high school reunion. I got a call that the rock and roll band was getting back together to play for the reunion. I dusted off my trumpet and started playing again. As I took the first breath to blow into my trumpet, I felt my heart start to sing. The more I played, the more my confidence and creativity expanded.
We all agreed that it was time to start playing again. Now, you can find us playing for seniors at assisted living and nursing homes. It fuels each of us as we watch the people come alive from the music. A few times a year, we play big rock and roll gigs for charity. When your give back makes your heart sing, you know you are in the right place with your passion and purpose.
A few years later, I started studying trumpet with the top jazz trumpeter in town. I was ready to take my playing to a new level as I experimented with sound and creativity. Each time I pick up my horn, I have the primal feeling of blowing my trumpet as the messenger. Blowing my trumpet is always a new Adventure!