Bill's Bountiful Blog
May I keep you posted on my thoughts, ideas, observations, and silliness?. Am I serious? Is it relevant?. Does anyone care? Probably not much.
But in today's age of everyone has something to say, why not me? And who can blame me for jumping into to the pool? For speaking up For laying it out?
"Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one." - Thomas Wiley, Journalist
By Wm. May
Published: 04/11/23 Topics: Aberdeen Washington, Education, Music, People, Self Improvement Comments: 0
Even after taking band for years, when new students entered Weatherwax High School’s band room for the first time, they still had much to learn. Mr. Hampton Wines was the man to teach them.
The sheet music was on the stands, the older students already seated stiffly, instruments out at the ready and the room was quiet. 80 musicians waited. Then the bell rang starting class.
Instantly, Mr. Wines stepped to his stand, raised his baton, gave the beat, and the music raced forward until, when it ended, his review began.
The third chair trumpets were a bit out of tune, the clarinets were entering each stanza a bit early, and the drums – well the drums – were far too loud as usual.
The critique was never personal, then he said “Again, from the top.” The rehearsal went forward all hour, then for days, weeks and months until – every player had learned every tune flawlessly.
Quickly new students became better musicians. But only years later did they realize how much else they had learned.
And it had nothing to do with music.
Students were required to attend “Sectionals” where each type of instrument practices together, sometimes there were evening sessions, and for the marching band, time on the field traipsing to and fro in the rain until the marching and the playing was perfect.
Personal instrument practice was required if a student was to avoid being reprimanded during rehearsal.
Being a trumpet player himself, Mr. Wines (who students and parents would never have dared to call Hampton) challenged every player to complete the dreaded “37 Weeks to Double High C” program of drills, repetition and even calisthenics. For some it took years instead of weeks.
Born in Wisconsin, Hampton spent three years in the Air Force during World War II, and while stationed in Fresno, California met and married his lovely wife Ruth. Together they had 3 children – John, Terry and Candy, all musicians.
After the war, Hampton graduated from the renowned Cincinnati Conservatory of Music in 3 years with degrees in Piano and Music Education. He then spent 4 years teaching band in the mid-west, and 7 years as band leader at the Kennewick, Washington high school.
There he devised a 7-foot tall bass drum, pulled along on a cart, while the band marched during parades. During a Portland Rose Parade his superb musicians, along with the giant drum, caught the eye of a school superintendent who recruited Mr. Wines to come to Aberdeen to “Build the best band ever.”
For the next 22 years, Mr. Wines oversaw band programs at 8 grade schools, and 2 junior high schools while leading the Weather High School Concert Band, Marching Band, Stage Band, Pep Band and other ensembles. They marched at every football game and played non-stop tunes at every basketball game. His bands won contest after contest, delivering perfect score after perfect score.
Mr. Wines invited nationally known professional musicians – such as Bill Page, George Roberts and Sergio Mendez to travel to Aberdeen to play concerts with the high school band.
In the 1960's, he arranged to have the bands record an album, at a time when doing so was new and expensive. Doc Severinson, the nationally admired leader of the Tonight Show TV band, was the guest soloist. When asked, why Aberdeen? Wines said, “Because our kids were that good.”
On four occasions, Mr. Wines arranged to take the entire band, along with chaperones on month-long international concerts tours including to Europe, Mexico and Scotland. They were trips no student will ever forget.
When the Bobcat basketball team made it to the state high school final-four championships one year, Hampton and his 24-person pep band arrived early, and almost marched to the North end of the Seattle Coliseum’s basketball court. There was no clowning around, no chit chat. They were there to do business.
They watched as their rivals the 100 person Renton Washington High School band sauntered in, slapping backs, laughing and lounging haphazardly to the South of the court, 100 feet way. Finally, their instructor coaxed and corralled his players into their seats, where they sat sloppily.
With his back to the court, Mr. Wines faced his band, grinned and whispered, “We'll wait and play after they do.”
The Renton played a song haphazardly, producing a clatter that was out of tune, out of time and barely decipherable. When the music petered out, a few basketball fans clapped politely.
Immediately, Hampton leapt to the front of his Pep Band, the musicians jumped to their feet instruments ready. He brought down his hand (no baton here) to start the music, and then walked away (as was his custom). The Pep Band burst into a fight song that rattled the rafters.
He risked nothing by sauntering away, having drilled his students well, some for 8 years. For every concert, he also started early, stayed late and doubled practices before big appearances.
The entire crowd, including Renton fans, jumped to their feet to clap along. All cheered when the Bobcat song ended and the band bowed. At the end, the play-by-play arena announcer exclaimed, “And that was a Pep Band.”
Mr. Wines stood behind the band unnoticed but beaming. The Renton band leader stared at his shoes, his band members slumped in their seats.
Thousands of students were lucky enough to go through the Weatherwax band program taught by this fellow Mr. Hampton Wines. All of them still love music, many still play, while others went on to great success in other fields.
And all because those young musicians, were lucky enough to have met a man name Hampton Wines who taught them more than music. He showed them how to work diligently and what it felt like to do something great. And to be recognized for it.- - - - -
The Hampton Wines scholarship is awarded to a student who has or wants to learn how to do something great. It is preferred you love music and already have a start on being a superior player, but being a superior person is more important. Apply today for this scholarship.
Author: Wm. May
Blog #: 0831 – 04/11/23
By Wm. May
Published: 10/14/19 Topics: Aberdeen Washington, Education, Music, People, Self Improvement Comments: 0
I had some amazing music teachers in my life as a student.
A year ago, while searching for a high school teacher to attend our 9th reunion (which sounds so much better than our 50th year reunion) I found that my high school band instructor, Mr. Hampton Wines, was still alive at 94.
Online, I concluded he lived at the same address. After telephoning his number repeatedly with no answer, I finally knocked on his door and was delighted to find him there and robust as ever.
We spent two hours reliving the past. He had memories of me that I did not remember, which made me feel special and appreciated, but in further stories, he remembered every student I could name and many I no longer remembered. He knew who was a good musician, who played flat, and those who were late to rehearsals.
For 50 years, I had waited to ask a question. I thought I remembered that the junior high band instructor visited our grade school in an attempt to teach 4th graders to play instruments, such as the heavy brass trumpet I was assigned and was so proud of.
But did I remember correctly that there was another mysterious man who occasionally attended rehearsal (such as it was) and stood at the back listening intently? "Was that you by any chance?" I ventured.
"Of course, it was me, looking for talent to groom." he insisted. "If football coaches can recruit, so can I. I lost many kids to football, but I got most of the good ones."
It must have paid off. Under my relentless questioning, he admitted that in 42 years of annual high school band competitions, his bands always achieved a "Superior" rating, and in fact, he admitted to never receiving anything less than a perfect score.
"Is that true? How is that possible?" I asked. He answered with a laugh and the old cliché, "How do you get to Carnegie Hall?
"Practice. Practice. Practice."
Very distinctly, I remember sitting in the rehearsal room, as he taught, picking apart every error and begrudgingly giving compliments for every well-done passage. I can hear it now as he picked me out of the 60-member band, stopped the tune, and said:
"Mr. May, that is a B and not a B flat. Ok, everyone, go again everyone, third page, top line."
It seems Mr. Wines followed the Henry Ford method of "No blame. No shame. Just fix it."
My memory of the band's quality has proof. As a sophomore, the band recorded an entire album when having tape recording technology was rare. Band, stage band, orchestra, and all with guest soloist Doc Severinson, then the longstanding band leader for the NBC TV network's Tonight Show. A very big deal.
"How did you get him to come to our little out of the way town?" I asked.
"I made telephone calls until, eventually, I got him on the phone and invited him to come. He came. And he was very impressed with your musician classmates."
In addition to the Beatles and other rock and roll bands we loved in high school, a novelty group called the "Tijuana Brass" had hit after hit on the radio.
To show how naïve the world was in my sophomore year of 1967, the name of our school-sanctioned, seven-piece band was "The Marijuana Brass." By my junior year, the principal had caught on and changed it to "The MJB's."
In my senior year, I dropped out of band to spend full time playing guitar and bass in a rock and roll band that traveled every weekend.
"It hurt me when anyone quit band, such a waste," he said. In 42 years, he must have taught thousands of kids. How could he remember me?
Like so many teachers, his example, his influence have never left me. I haven't played music in a very long time, although I now own all the guitars I could not afford as a kid. Music is central to my soul, to how I think, to what I consider beautiful.
And, in other endeavors, I am never sure if I have ever achieved anything, but I am sure I always practice, practice, practice to know the music precisely, play on key, and perform as you mean it. Damn him.
"Practice. Practice. Practice."
And at age 94, he still gets up early to practice the trumpet for an hour before he plays the piano for an hour and then drives himself to church. He misses his wife, who died a few years ago. His son and daughter are successes in life, as are his grandchildren. But, of course, they are.
On the day of the reunion, Mr. Wines was not feeling well enough to attend, but he did arrange to have the current high school marching band attend in full uniform. Although he has not been the band instructor for many years, his legacy remains. They were fabulous.
The band knew the music precisely, played on key, and performed as they meant it, as expected.
You can support teachers like Mr. Wines and students by contributing to the "Hampton Wines Scholarship." at https://www.gh-cf.org/hr-wines-scholarship/
Author: Wm. May – Lapsed Musician
Blog #: 0789 – 10/14/19
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