Well-known New York jazz trumpeter Scott Wendholt's childhood whim eventually set him on the path to becoming a full-time musician.
"I never really thought about playing an instrument," Wendholt said in a telephone interview with the Herald. "But then in the third grade a friend of mine said I should learn to play the trumpet because he did and said it's fun."
He went home and convinced his parents into buying him a second-hand horn, but not without a few words of caution from them about the value of music discipline.
"Before they would buy me a trumpet, they sat me down and gave me the usual lecture about commitment and practice," he said. "But I was lucky because I seemed to have a natural aptitude for the horn. And my friends at school liked that I could play, so that kept me going too."
You can hear Wendholt during a Jan. 23 concert with the Hanford Jazz Ensemble.
Showtime is 7 p.m. in the auditorium at Hanford High, 450 Hanford St., Richland.
Wendholt, 41, grew up in Colorado and didn't think about making a living as a musician until he got to college. Soon after graduating, he moved to New York City, where he's been making his living as a musician ever since.
He's performed and recorded albums with the likes of Vincent Herring, Kenny Garrett, Cyrus Chestnut, Christian McBride, Don Braden and Bruce Barth. He's noted for being one of the most prolific studio musicians today, as his trumpet expertise has been featured on more than 60 albums.
He is part of the Grammy-winning Vanguard Jazz Orchestra and the Manhattan Jazz Orchestra. He's also a teacher at the Manhattan School of Music and an active player/clinician with numerous colleges around the world.
His Tri-City appearance is part of his music outreach philosophy.
"I like teaching kids different facets of music," he said. "The most rewarding thing about working with young people is that you have their rapt attention because they really want to learn."
Wendholt remembers how music helped him to overcome his shyness.
"When I give a clinic, I tell kids to learn about lots of things, not just music," he said, whether it's music, working on their own cars or learning to do household repairs.
"I've always fixed my own car, done my own home repairs at home," Wendholt added. "It makes you a better musician and it makes you a better person."
All Tri-City area students are invited to attend one of Wendholt's clinics during his visit. They are free and will be at 9 and 10:30 a.m. in the band room at Hanford High.
At the concert that night, the program includes jazz tunes by Duke Ellington, Benny Carter, Tom Kubis and Bob Mintzer, as well as a few pieces composed by Wendholt.
◗ Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; firstname.lastname@example.org