from Forrest Merrill, 1975-1976 HSU Jazz bands:
I appreciate your tribute page to Mr. Evanson. He likely doesn’t remember, but was a huge positive influence on me. I attended only one year, but still remember him as if it were yesterday. I have three stories you can use if you like:
As a freshman trumpet player in 1975, I played a solo with the 2nd jazz band that got me a lot of praise from my fellow musicians at the school. None more so than Mr. Evanson, who said, “That was very musical, Forrest.” He was not one to throw out a cheap compliment to anyone.
One day Dr. Kramer and I were playing duets on D trumpets. I had a decent range and was playing some very high notes. Mr. Evanson stuck his head in the door and said, “Is that you playing way up there?” That help my self confidence quite a bit.
Lastly, we were doing a trumpet clinic on range development one day. Mr. Evanson chose me to demonstrate some air management/relaxation techniques to the group. The notes I hit that day astonished me just as much as everyone there.
What’s the theme, here? Simple – the greats make you perform better than you thought you could-and I’m living proof