Saying Good Bye To An Old Friends


After several decades of working with this great cup mute, it may be time to retire him (her), for newer and more improved models are now available.

Your corks have been replaced at least a dozen times.

Your bottom has been epoxied at least twice and you colors have faded.

The number of scratches, dents and scuffs show a well-used history which includes some of the best (and the worst) bands around.

You have performed on concert stages performing contemporary as well as classical compositions, and if I remember correctly you actually were used to warmup in front of Aaron Copland many years ago.

The many bands you have played for would include the following- Anita Bryant, Barnes Rodeo, Billy Williams Orchestra, Bix Biederbeck Dixieland Festival, Blackstone the Magician, Bob Anderson, Bob Hope, Bob Over Orchestra, Bobby Vinton, Branson All-Star Jazz Band, Brass Transit, Bye, Bye Birdie, Carmen Cavalero, Cedar Basin Dixieland Festival, Derwood Cline Orchestra, Des Moines Big Band, Don Jacoby Orchestra, Farm Progress Show, Ford Motor Corp., Greene Jazz Festival, Holiday on Ice, Ice Capades,International Recording Industry Studio (Dallas), International Shriner’s Circus, International Trumpet Guild, International Water Follies, Jerry Murad and the Harmonicats, Jerry Presley, Jim Nabors, John Davidson, John Deere Corp., Laurence Welk Orchestra, Les Brown, Lipizzaner Horse Show, Mal Fitch Orchestra, Mary Lou Turner, Massey Ferguson Corp., Missouri Trumpet Guild, Orchestra de Salsa, Ray Nobel.Ringling Brothers/Barnum & Bailey Circus, Roy Rogers/ Dale Evens, Royal Canadian Air Force Mounted Police, Sound of Music, State Fair Band of Texas, Steve Lawrence/Eddy Gourmet, Steve Samuelson Big Band, Ted Weems, The Four Freshmen, Tommy Amador Orchestra, Warren Covington Orchestra and are currently doing you job with the “All Hands On Deck Show” in Branson.

What a dedicated friend you have been and to just chuck you for another seems cruel and heartless. But we do have to keep up with the times…. Don’t we?

On second thought, a dedicated friend needs to be justly appreciated and for all the many years and “clams” we have shared, it seems impossible for me to replace you with another. NO! YOU DESERVE TO BE TREATED MORE HONORABLY! I CAN’T DO THIS TO YOU MY OLD, TATTERED AND ABUSED COLLEGUE!

We will be together to the end and when I am at last returned to the ground, it will be my wish to play our last gig together, as true friends should.

You are salvaged once again and for that reason, I have written this memorial to you my original cup mute.

I once had a cup mute that served me well.
It rested so warmly at the end of my bell.
With every note played, as all there could tell
my bettered old mute….Dang! It fell out again!

Bruce was a member of the faculty at the University of Northern Iowa, School of Music in Cedar Falls from 1969 until his retirement in 1999. He has performed with many well-known entertainers such as Bob Hope, Jim Nabors, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, Anita Bryant, Carman Cavalara, Victor Borgie, the Four Freshman, Blackstone the Magician, Bobby Vinton and John Davidson.