Raymond Hall - Trombone
June 2016 when we used to meet at the old location
How did you hear about/find us?
I heard about CCB through Renee Gainer. Because we work together, we had occasionally talked about our memories of playing in our high school bands. One day she brought up the subject of CCB with hopes of encouraging me to go. Once Renee joined she was determined to get me to join too.
What is your musical background/history?
I have always loved music. My family used to attend music events in the city long before I learned to play an instrument. Since my mother's family was in the Piano and Organ business, I had been around these fine instruments and would attend meetings for piano and organ enthusiasts. It was called "The Organ Club" and was sponsored by Marsh Piano and Organ Company. There featured players would talk about playing and show off their skills. One such featured entertainer was "Bob Ralston". He was a regular on the "Lawrence Welk Show" and he played the organ. I was amazed how easy he made it look to make music. One night I saw a small group of musicians playing and one man was playing a trombone. He described how the instrument worked and gave demonstrations. That was when I had my first desire to play trombone.
That desire remained for several more years. One day in elementary school I learned that North Roebuck Elementary had a band director and she was teaching students how to play all kind of instruments. I asked my mother if I could play trombone. At the time I was in 5th grade. We had to get permission from the band director, Mrs. Martha Miller, because students were not allowed to begin band until the 6th grade. I got permission and have been playing ever since.
I began Huffman High School band in 1977 where I played in Marching Band, Stage Band, and Symphonic Band. In those days we were the best in the Birmingham City School System and we won competitions throughout the southeast.
Stage Band was interesting and I learned so much about music beginning my freshman year. We played pep rallies, jazz competitions and I had the privilege, on many occasions, to be instructed by one of Birmingham’s Jazz Legends, Dr. Frank Adams. He taught us how to play jazz rhythms better and helped us be better at improvisation.
Being in the high school band took me many places and gave me opportunities that I would have never had if I were not in band. I was able to compete throughout the Southeast, played in Solo & Ensemble, competed in District and State Competitions, recorded an LP record, played with the Band that performed at the Olympic Torch run as it came through Birmingham, and I’ve played on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry. I’ve also seen what goes on inside a traveling bus full of teenagers and enjoyed every moment of my years in band. My senior year I was honored with one of our school’s highest honors, The Jeannie C. Huffaker Award. It was awarded to a senior student for “Unselfish Dedication” to the Huffman High School Band.
While in high school, my band director encouraged me to also play with his church brass band at Huffman Baptist Church. I continued that for couple of years and loved it. I have also played in Church Orchestras for many dramas and other productions. I'm still involved in playing each Sunday at Enon Baptist Church in Morris, AL.
What is your favorite “Band Song” to play?
While I have many favorite songs I love to play, I think my absolute favorite is going to be "In The Stone". I don't think we have given it our best yet and I think many people have underestimated the instrumental quality of the piece but I think with more practice this is going to be our best one yet. I am also an EWF (Earth, Wind and Fire) fan.
What do you do when you are not playing music? (work/hobbies/for fun???)
I am an Eagle Scout and I love to do anything that is related to outdoors and helping people. Camping, fishing, and hiking are among my favorite outdoor activities. I am also an Amateur Radio Operator. I have a license to talk with other people across the world through Ham Radio. My call sign is KK4YYL. When I don't have a cell phone signal, it seems I always have a radio signal to the nearest cell tower. I suppose my love for the outdoors and my love for amateur radio go hand in hand. I can always be in contact with someone in case of an emergency. I also love taking care of animals. I raise chickens and collect eggs daily. I’ve had as many as 160 chickens at my home at one time. Other pets include 3 dogs, 4 cats and I once had two goats. I’m married with two grown kids and I’m expecting my third grandchild early next month. Life is always busy.
What type of animal/breed of dog/cat/bird/fish/other etc…. best reflects your personality and why?
To be honest, I've never thought about it. I wasn't sure so I took an online test to find my animal spirit. Here is my result:
Shiba Inu (dog): You're very curious about the way things work, but that doesn't mean you don't have a smile on everywhere you go. You're friendly, loyal, and you have a certain fondness for misspellings.
Who knew? I certainly didn't - especially since misspellings drive me nuts!!!!!
Tell us something fun! You know, like “That one time at band camp…” Or elsewhere. (funny anecdote/story/amazing coincidence/hidden talent/celebrity encounter, etc…)
High School Band brought about many amazing opportunities to play and compete. In 1978 my high school marching band was invited to play at an Atlanta Falcons half time show. It was an opportunity to add this to the band's resume and experience something new. The trip started out like most trips loading the buses with instruments, uniforms, being preached to about how well we were to behave on the trip while traveling, etc. This was only a one day trip, but we had time restraints about being in place at the right time. We arrived at our location and were totally thrown off by the setup of the field. It was a multi-use field and had recently been modified from being a baseball field to being used as the Falcons game-day field. We had very short time to go through a quick view of the field. What we had not realized was the hash marks on the field are not the same as a regular football field. They are definitely closer together so we had to try and not rely on using the hash marks for our set up. That was something we just had to deal with. We were quickly ushered to an area where we were going to warm up and wait for further instruction. The organizer arranged to feed us and then we would play and load the buses. All was going well until we began eating the food. It was warm milk and some really cold boxed chicken. It wasn't even chicken strips - just plain ole cold chicken. The disgusting warm milk left a weird taste in your mouth. We made our way to the ramp leading us onto the field. We suddenly felt like a can of packed sardines as we waited. Some of us had a view of the field and for those of us that could see also had a view of the Falcon's Cheerleaders. They were definitely not our high school cheerleaders. For a young high school kid I found this great entertainment!!! That's when the true entertainment really began. One cheerleader had a wardrobe malfunction and out came the girls. She was struggling to get her top held in front of her and stormed off the field. The only way out was through the exit where we were waiting to enter the field. She scurried through us crying and still holding on to that small piece of fabric. That was one of many stories but I’m not sure the statute of limitations has run out to be able to tell the others.