Felix Mayerhofer Diary of a Young Musician: Final Days of the Big Band Era
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Felix Mayerhofer, born in Port Chester, NY, played trombone on the road for 14 years with big bands, and ended his career in the showrooms of Reno, Lake Tahoe, and Las Vegas, Nevada. Interspersed during those years, Felix went to Julliard School of Music, served with the 552 Air Force Band during the Korean War, received his B.S. from the State University of New York at Postdam, and an M.A. from Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, CA. Felix married Shirley Wagner (Wagonseller), a professional dancer at Harrah's Club in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. Their son, David, a fine trombonist and business owner of Limo inc., lives in Los Angeles, California. Since Felix's retirement as a band director for the Palmdale School District in Palmdale, CA, he has written 35 children's stories, with two being published. He also wrote choral arrangements for the Pamdale High School Choir, and big band jazz arrangements for area high schools.
As an innocent teenage musician from Port Chester, NY, Felix Mayerhofer's life took a dramatic turn when he entered the "dog eat dog" world of big bands, with drugs, drinking, and women, while traveling on the road. whne still in his 20's he played with name bands interspersed with a stint in an air force band during the Korean War, and a B.S. from the state University N.Y., Postdam. His long tour in the South before the 1950's was an eye opener for a young boy: problems with a sheiff in Macon County, Georgia, who had a dislike for New Yorkers, and scary run-ins with corrupt policemen in New Orleans, raising his awareness that the situation in that part of the country more devastating for blacks. The momentus social problems he described in the land of magnolias and mint juleps before the civil rights upheaval and the above events are a fast read. While working the showrooms of Reno, Las Vegas and Lake Tahoe, he married a beautiful professional dancer that changed his life. This story has a mixture of excitement, humor, and sadness.
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