A couple of weeks ago my business partner, Mario Grossi and I, attended the NAMM convention at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California. Mario, a professional drummer, and I, are in the business of renting and selling new and used band and stringed instruments to schoolchildren, who are entering the school instrumental programs.

Attending the conference was like being at an extravaganza opening of a new casino-hotel in Las Vegas. It was incredible, with hundreds of companies displaying their wares. Dozens of stars were at individual company exhibits, either performing or helping sell those brands. There were musicians from every genre of music: jazz, rock, country, and some I wasn’t too sure what they were, especially from Asian countries.

We had planned on meeting our good friends, professional trombonist, John Ley, and his singer-wife, Beverly Jenson. We visited many of the displays together until we met two of my former big band members, woodwind artist, John Burcher, and classical-jazz guitarist Bob Ormsby, also known as Bobby “O.” A few years back, Bobby was in the first graduating class at Cal Arts in Valencia, CA. I had helped him to get a full scholarship through my friend, singer Vickie Carr, who had recently been appointed a trustee at the conservatory.

The entire experience was wonderful and an eye-opener, but the most exciting thing was the fabulous pizza they served at lunch!

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