[Dixielandjazz] In Celebration of Mac McClaeb
Fri, 20 Sep 2002 15:10:12 -0400
Jazz trumpeter Mac McClaeb's Celebration of Life, Memorial Service was
yesterday and it was beautiful. There was a Dixieland Band at the First
Baptist Church of Eastport. (Annapolis, MD) It was comprised of active
and retired Military musicians and led by reed man Hennig Hoehne.
They played while the church filled up, leading off with "Back Home
Again In Indiana", (Mac's Birth State) Several other Dixieland tunes
preceded the Service. After the welcome, a beautiful rendition of "Just
A Closer Walk With Thee". Later, "Precious Lord Take My Hand" and then
at the close, a rousing "Saints" which as we were filing out, segued
into a Dixieland rendition of Anchor's Aweigh. If you hadn't teared up
before that, you sure did then. Many senior Navy Musicians, who knew Mac
when he was a Master Chief were there.
We all went to the Maryland Veteran's Cemetery for our final good-bye.
As a retired 30 year man, he was given a rifle salute, etc. Then an echo
trumpet taps was played by Master Chief's, Gary Wolfe and Larry
Callahan. It was very, very moving and followed by the folding of the
flag and presentation to his wife "with thanks from a grateful nation.
We then went back to the Fleet Reserve Club on the Annapolis waterfront
and celebrated Mac's life with a jam session and reception. Most of the
musicians were military, retired military including several members of
the Commodore Jazz Band, and other friends who had played with Mac. List
mate David Littlefield and I were among the latter.
It was a rousing session, lasting several hours. Mac's favorite tune,
when playing with Barbone Street was "Fidgety Feet" and the jam band, me
included, played it for him. Beautiful, and tight for a "pick-up
We all loved Mac McClaeb and it showed in his New Orleans Celebration of
life. His wife, BJ, was touched by our musical affirmation of love
adding that it was something that none of us would ever forget.