Where were you when JFK was assinated

Posted: November 21, 2013 in General Music, Stories from the past

I have interesting answer to this question with this week being the anniversary of JFK’s assassination and all the media attention to the 50th Anniversary of the event.

On November 22nd 1963 I was 19 years old and had been playing trombone for 3 years since I was 16.

I went to see my idol big band the Stan Kenton Orchestra in my home town Birmingham UK.

The band was superb and his version of West Side Story was an anthem to us young musicians.

The band had the 4 Mellophoniums plus 4 trombones and 5 trumpets and a full sax section.


They had played about 3 or 4 songs when the concert suddenly stopped and Kenton walked off  to stage left.

He came back and walked to the microphone and announced that President Kennedy had been shot in Dallas,Texas.

The band were visibly shaken and so were the audience.

Stan Kenton then announced the band would play “God Bless America” as a tribute.

Which they did and it was the most amazing arrangement of the song I have ever heard with the soaring Mellophoniums and trombones.

There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

Personel was as follows as far as I can determine:

Stan Kenton (piano); Joel Kaye (piccolo, bass saxophone); Gabe Baltazar (alto saxophone); Ray Florian, Steve Marcus (tenor saxophone); Archie Wheeler (baritone saxophone); Bob Behrendt, Ronnie Ossa, Gary Slavo, Ron Keller (trumpet); Jiggs Whigham (trombone, tenor trombone); Bob Curnow (tenor trombone); Dave Wheeler (bass trombone, tuba); Jim Amlotte (bass trombone); Chris Swanson (valve trombone); John Worster (double bass); Dee Barton (drums) plus the Mellophoniums Bob Faust,Tony Scodwell,David Horten and Bob Crull as far as I can determine.

The concert was amazing and very memorable and its strange it seems like yesterday






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