Oblivious Adams – Canadian Brass Story

Daniel J. Adams was a spritely young chap, a 17 year old high school student in the suburbs of Minneapolis. He was a trumpet player, the star of the school band, he even made the all-state band and did very well in the chair placement auditions.

Daniel idolized the Canadian Brass in the early 1990’s. They were the talk of the town, everyone was playing their arrangements. Preston had in fact memorized the opening solo to Luther Henderson’s famous arrangement of Amazing Grace and had performed it rather well for a boy his age for churches, little gigs here and there around town.

One day, Daniel’s brass quintet coach informed him and his young colleagues that the Canadian Brass were going to be in a town a few hours away, across the state lines in Wisconsin – and they were doing a masterclass the day of the concert.

Daniel was delighted to hear of this and was the first to commit to the trip, sharing expenses and what not.

Daniel of course brought his trumpet with him. In the back of his mind, he thought maybe there’s a chance he might get to play for the group. MAYBE he would be allowed to play the solo from Amazing Grace in front of the great Ronald Romm, who he had heard perform it countless times on the album he dutifully purchased and played on his CD player…

As any real fan of a group of that stature would do.

The trip to Wisconsin was a bit brutal. Google meant “unlimited” in those days, and there was no GPS. Data privacy amounted to covering up your test so the person next to you couldn’t steal your answers.

Paper maps, and the questionable comprehension of them is what caused them to finally arrive the morning of the masterclass.

Daniel took his seat along with his comrades, and the masterclass began. He was determined to put his nerves aside and approach Mr. Romm at the first break and tell him he wanted to play the solo to Amazing Grace for him. At the first break, he did just that. Mr. Romm was polite and courteous, but said there was no way he could allow Daniel to play; the itinerary for the masterclass was jam-packed.

He returned to his seat, but not dejected, he certainly didn’t expect his request to be granted. It was after all rather bold for a 17-year old kid to approach a legit pro and say he wants to play in front of a world-renowned group like that.

Well, the next break, Mr. Romm pointed at Daniel and motioned for him to come over. “Get your horn out,” he said.

He meekly replied, “I haven’t warmed-up yet.”

Mr. Romm said, “Oh, that’s too bad” or words to that effect and that was the essence of the discussion.

Why had he not gone to the van, got out his trumpet and warmed up immediately after making his request? Why had he not had it at his side in the high school auditorium where the masterclass was being held, in hopes that Mr. Romm would do exactly as he did do?

Oblivious… That would be a good word to describe Daniel J. Adams in that moment.

Oblivious to the opportunity squandered. Forgivable perhaps, as the boy was only 17 years old.

But how many opportunities like that does one really have in their lives?

Best to be aware of this, and be ready.

Sadly, this would be a lesson he did not fully comprehend for many years.