As an aspiring 10-year-old trumpet player
I took a bus and subway ride to Corona
for lessons with my teacher—Tom Dinofrio—
first trumpet player in the New York Symphony
Orchestra under the direction of Walter Damrosch.
While singing ˆZip-a dee-do-dah, zip-a-dee-day,
I was approached by a man in the subway
who put his hands on me which caused me
to flee at the next station and run all the way
to my teacher, who comforted me by calmly
explaining there are some men who can’t keep
their hands off young kids.
He got the most extraordinary sound out of an old
Selmer silver trumpet. It sounded like a Clarion call
to all trumpet players as he taught me to Solfege—
Do- Re- Mi-Fa-So-La-Ti-Do until I could hear each note.
He also complained about being a victim of racism
since the orchestra preferred lily-white musicians.
Corona became my second home, especially
when I discovered it was where my other favorite
trumpet player lived—Louis Armstrong.