[Dixielandjazz] Hello Mr. Romans.

Bob Romans cellblk7@attbi.com
Thu, 29 Aug 2002 10:43:10 -0500

Hi DJML'rs,
Letters like this are what makes teaching so rewarding...brought TEARS to my
eyes when I read it!
So, I just had to share it with all of you!!
I remember Jeff very well!! A nice looking little redheaded boy with an
antique cornet he brought to his first lesson at Lockeford school...I
convinced his parents to get him a nicer, newer cornet right away...I guess
the rest is history.
You NEVER know what influence you have...
Bob R.
-----Original Message-----
From: Jeffrey Claassen <halfvalve@hotmail.com>
To: cellblk7@attbi.com <cellblk7@attbi.com>
Date: Thursday, August 29, 2002 10:33 AM
Subject: Hello Mr. Romans.

Hello Mr. Romans,

I'm not sure if you remember me, but you taught me to play cornet at
Lockeford school about 17 years ago. Our paths crossed again later when I
was in 7th grade and you asked if I would be interested in playing in a
Dixieland jazz band-- The Riverboat Rascals. I played trumpet alongside
Dacien Sims and had a wonderful time playing tunes like Jelly Roll Blues
Grandpa's Spells. Later on, in high school, I called you and asked for
private lessons. You were all booked up so you recommended Bob Secor.

Well, one thing led to another, and after having studied in Sacramento and
at North Texas State, playing in jazz festivals and performance venues
across the globe, being presented with great opportunities and wonderful
musical contacts, I find myself getting my Doctorate at New England
Conservatory of Music in Boston, studying composition. I have the great
pleasure of being a student of Bob Brookmeyer and playing lead trumpet in
the George Russell big band, as well as taking advantage of all the other
faculty (both classical and jazz)-- Lee Hyla, Paul Bley, Caleb Morgan,
Danilo Perez, Robert Cogan, John McNeil, Stephen Drury, Herb Pomeroy... the
list goes on. My calendar is booked up with gigs year-long, and I'm working
as a music engraver for Boosey & Hawkes and Hal Leonard. Tomorrow I am
getting married to an amazing woman, my best friend, and also a phenomenal
trumpeter-- Michelle Ross, who also spent some time in California (played
a jazz group called The Raisin Babies).

I've been meaning to write you and thank you for some time now, but I
managed to put it off. On the internet I saw your Cell Block Seven web site
and decided that now was the time. From the start of my musical interests,
you were always such a positive and encouraging factor, and I thank you
greatly!!! After having been in the music business for a little while now,
have seen some musicians and teachers who are bitter, unhappy, and in some
cases, possess such a large opinion of themselves, that they view all
as inferior. I often times wonder how my life would have changed had I been
exposed to an unhappy music education at the beginning. Fortunately, you
were my teacher at the beginning, and your happiness as a musician rubbed
off onto me, and now, I find myself growing happier with every day, loving
the East Coast, loving Michelle, and loving my life in music. As I continue
my musical adventures and aim at making large changes in music and arts
education, I believe this good cheer will rub off on others just as it had
rubbed off from you onto me. Thank you very much.

---Jeff Claassen
(If you are ever on the east coast, do not hesitate to look me up)