Wednesday, December 17, 2008

First Blog

Seems like everyone is blogging these days. Most seem self serving and boastful, that's why I have hesitated. Hopefully, I'll post something of interest and can stimulate a dialogue.

The thing that has been foremost in my mind these days is how a middle aged man can alter his career and his view (opinion) of himself. Many people judge who they are by what they do. SO much of my own self impression was (is!) tied up into being the tubist of the San Jose Symphony. When that went away, I had a heckuva time figuring out who the hell I was. Working 40 weeks, sitting next to my best friend, Phil Zahorsky, was a life I loved and the only one for which I was really prepared. I LOVED that life. Went to work in the same place, parked in the same place, knew what to expect from week to week. We even had a lot of fun in the trombone section. I was so fortunate in that both John Russell (2nd trombone) & Phil were students of our principal trombonist, Bob Szabo, that we knew each other so well and we really enjoyed each others' company. Even as Bob was readying to retire, I still felt like the new guy in the section.

After the San Jose Symphony went bankrupt, not only did I have to find work, but I was struggling with self image. LUCKILY, Phil passed the baton of the Ohlone Wind Orchestra to me, AND I had been made Personnel Manager of the Ballet Orchestra, here in San Jose. At the same time, I was hired to conduct the El Camino Youth Symphony's wind orchestra.

To make a VERY long story short, I became more of a conductor, and less of a tubist. As of now, I get about 13 weeks' work with the new Symphony & Ballet and I have 4 wonderful ensembles to conduct: The OWO, the Ohlone Community Band, the newly formed Silicon Valley Brass Band & the terrific Ohlone Tuba Ensemble.

In January of 2008, I was installed as President of the Musicians Union, Local 153; I LOVE this. The Union has been very good to me and I love serving. I feel like I can actually help out my fellow professional musicians, rather than just sitting around, complaining about stuff.

Over the next weeks, I'll post more info about our ensembles and bands, brass & Union happenings in the South Bay.


  1. Hey Tony! Nice to read your new blog. Maybe I'm the first one to post a comment! 1954 was a very good year...I'm a Gemini, for whatever that's worth.
    I enjoy OWO so much. I'll let you know as soon as I can whether I can participate in the clarinet section next semester.
    Merry Christmas! Cyndy S.

  2. Hey Tony - Nice First Blog!!
    I became a short-term blogger earlier this year after breaking my pelvis (ouch!) in a bicycling accident and found it a great way to get some thoughts and feelings "on paper" and let friends and family know what was going on.

    You raise some thought-provoking topics about growth, where life takes us, and how we view ourselves. I would have never believed at age 22 that at age 52 I would be a Nurse Anesthetist profession-wise, and an apsiring eupher as well as trombonizer avocation-wise.

    I, too, was a knuckleheaded-know-it-all as one of Will Sudmeier's SF State students in the 70's.
    I can only hope for as much joy in the next 30 years - with advancing years and declining 401k, who knows. More opportunities for making lemonade!!
    --Brian Taylor

  3. Don't worry about the hubris factor of starting a blog. I think you've got a ton of interesting insight and experience to share. It's already a great read.