Home | Classifieds | Place an Ad | Public Notices | Subscriber Services | 928 Media Lab | Real Estate Search | Galleries | Obits | Yellow Pages | TV Listings | Contact Us
The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : blogs_old : ability and accountability August 27, 2015

Ability and Accountability
By Richard Haddad, Prescott Valley, AZ
rhaddad@westernnews.com
"[Children] don't remember what you try to teach them. They remember what you are."
"Please watch out for each other and love and forgive everybody. It's a good life, enjoy it."

-- Two of my favorite quotes by Jim Henson

Monday, December 03, 2012

What my grandfather taught me with a trick trombone

 Richard Haddad

My grandfather, Ralph Ruland (far right), played trombone for big bands during the 1920s and 1930s.

When I was 11 years old, I remember my mother asking me to sit with her at the dinner table to look through a catalog filled with musical instruments. As she turned the pages she showed me all the different kinds of instruments I could choose to play in school. She told me of the wonder, beauty and power of music - and not just with her words, for I could see it in her eyes.

She is an accomplished musician, earning her bachelor's and master's degrees in music, as did my father, who is also a musician and well-known composer. Even now, at age 77, my mother plays professionally with several bands, including a 20-piece swing band of the most accomplished musicians. Her father, Ralph Ruland, played trombone with the great Sammy Kay Band, Blue Barron and other big bands of the 1920s and 1930s.

I enjoy hearing the stories of my grandfather's musical adventures. One story my mother shared is when he was asked to fill in for a musician with the circus that came to town.

During the performance, a clown came out holding a trick trombone. It had been cut and rigged so that the clown could pull a trigger, forcing a bouquet of fake flowers and water out of the bell. The clown ran around blasting the trombone and squirting other clowns in the center ring.

My grandfather had a great love for the trombone, even until the day he died. He could hardly restrain himself as he sat near my mother, then about 4 years old, watching this clown making a joke out of the instrument he so dearly loved and respected.

Finally, he could stand it no longer. Setting aside his own trombone, he leaped over the barrier separating the band from the center ring and approached the clown with an outstretched hand. The clown stopped and turned to see this determined-looking man in a band uniform.

Thinking this was part of the act, the spotlight operators put all lights on the two figures in the center ring. Not knowing what else to do, the clown handed the trick trombone to my grandfather who tore out the fake flowers, drained the water and lifted the horn to his lips.

My mother said she watched in amazement as her father began to play. The audience fell silent and the beautiful melody of "Sentimental Over You," a Tommy Dorsey classic, flowed from the lips of this master musician.

When he was done, the audience erupted in applause. When my grandfather tried to give back the trombone, the clown bowed in respect, indicating that he wanted my grandfather to keep it - which he did.

I am grateful for all those who love music and give of themselves to share it. Like my grandfather and his daughter, there are many in our community who are dedicated to the art. I thank the music teachers, the students and the performers who keep the arts alive in the quad-city area.

As Arizona residents, we all have a unique opportunity to support our school music programs through the Arizona School Tax Credit Program, A.R.S. 43-1089. It's an often misunderstood program, but here are the simple facts - you can write a check for any amount up to $200 (a couple filing jointly can contribute up to $400) to the Arizona school of your choice, and specify that you want the money to go to the music program. Then you get all of your money back as a tax credit on your tax return. The tax credit is available to anyone who itemizes on their state return.

You can also earmark your contribution to other extracurricular activities.

A tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction in the actual tax you owe. It's a wonderful way to put instruments in the hands of our local children and provide musical experiences that will last a lifetime. For a 2012 tax credit you need to have your contribution postmarked before December 31. See the links below to help make your contribution easier.

I am grateful for a mother who passed along the legacy of a grandfather so that I might better teach my children the power and beauty of music. I hope we will all take advantage of this Arizona tax credit program to build musical legacies right here in our own communities.

Related Links:
• Prescott Unified School District tax credit page
• Humboldt Unified School District tax credit page
• Chino Valley Unified School District tax credit page
• More school tax credited information from AZ Department of Revenue



Article Comment Submission Form
Comments are not posted immediately. Submissions must adhere to our Use of Service Terms of Use agreement. Rambling or nonsensical comments may not be posted. Comments are limited to Facebook character limits. In order for us to reasonably manage this feature we may limit excessive comment entries.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Required
Last Name:
Required
Telephone:
Required
Email:
Required
Comment:
Required
Passcode:
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.
   

Advanced Search

HSE - We want to hear from you



Quick Links
 •  Submit site feedback or questions

 •  Submit your milestone notice

 •  Submit your letter to the editor

 •  Submit a news tip or story idea

 •  Place a classified ad online now

 •  Browse the Yellow Pages

Find It Features Blogs Milestones Extras Submit Other Publications Links
Classifieds | Subscriber Services | Real Estate Search | Galleries | Find Prescott Jobs | e-News | RSS | Site Map | Contact Us
© Copyright 2015 Western News&Info, Inc.® The Daily Courier is the information source for Prescott area communities in Northern Arizona. Original content may not be reprinted or distributed without the written permission of Prescott Newspapers, Inc. Prescott Newspapers Online is a service of Prescott Newspapers Inc. By using the Site, dcourier.com ®, you agree to abide and be bound by the Site's terms of use and Privacy Policy, which prohibit commercial use of any information on the Site. Click here to submit your questions, comments or suggestions. Prescott Newspapers Online is a proud publication of Western News&Info, Inc.® All Rights Reserved.

Software © 1998-2015 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved