Dear Mr. Gould,
I have read and listened to your interviews about Mel Broiles. I was a student of Mel back when I was highschool, 1974 to 1976. I would take lessons with him every two weeks on Saturdays, before the Texeco broadcasts. After my lessons, Mel would shuttle me into the pit and put me right behind him to watch the operas.
Geez, I was in highschool and this was an awesome experience. I saw the Ring and the Strauss Operas sitting in the Met Brass section. I still remember feeling my whole body vibrating when the brass section opened up.
On breaks, Mel would introduce me to the cast. He introduced my to Joan Sutherland and several other divas. I was just a kid and didn’t know who these people were.
At one lesson in the ballet rehearsal room at the Met, some knocked on the door and in a Russian accent asked if he could warm up to our music, Mel of course said “knock yourself out.” We played various etudes and orchestral excerpts and after this person had left, Mel said to me “hey Steveo (his nick name for me), do you know who that was?” I said know. He said “he is a famous russian ballet dancer, Mikhail Baryshnikov.”
I still remember an incident the occurred in the pit during a Texco broadcast of “Die Walkure.” Harry Peers, who you probably know was the second Trumpet, kept whispering in the bass trumpet’s ear, while he was playing the motif, “your gonna blow it” and the 5th time the bass trumpet played the motif, he cracked it. He was so upset with Harry that I thought they would get into a fist fight in the pit.
Harry was a stange man and on breaks would pitch quarters between breaks.
I have a few quips from Mel that I still remember today;
“Steveo, playing Trumpet is not like being an accountant, I can’t walk out to the audience