In 1946, I was playing trombone in the KC band and Mr. Moore asked me to change to the baritone. He told me I would be using the same mouthpiece as the trombone but would use valves instead of the slide to change notes.
I fell in love with the instrument. He furnished me with a euphonium which has two bells, one for treble and one for bass and has a more mellow tone than the trombone or baritone. He taught me a simple way to transpose the treble to bass. In one of our concerts, in a solo I was supposed to play, I made a mistake. Afterwards, he had a discussion with me that I very well remember.
He told me I had a natural talent for playing the instrument but I didn’t practice enough. So, I started practicing more and suddenly I felt more pride in my playing. This advice I have always kept in my mind. I no longer play the instrument but in every endeavor I’ve gotten into since I’ve found that practice has always helped. When he passed away, I had the honor of being asked to officiate at his Masonic funeral. Wes Moore was truly a great teacher.
John D. Denney
This story was submitted in response to a call for memories about Bakersfield’s own Wes Moore, the late Colonel Moore, who directed the Bakersfield High School bands from 1946-79 and positively influenced countless youth. For the original call for submissions, click here.