It was my sophomore year in high school when I got the nickname “Perfect Pete”. I have had other nicknames throughout my life like Pete the Peach, Pete the Weatherman, and Pete when my voice was changing.
I was a band geek throughout high school which turned into my main profession throughout my life. A few years earlier in eighth grade I had started taking private trombone lessons from a young, but strict, teacher, Frank T. Williams III. He gave me lots of advise like “If you want to become a professional musician, one thing you don’t do is get married, and the other thing is you have to be a great sight reader.
I wasn’t worried about the first thing, but I didn’t get married until I was 43. Frank made sure I became a great sight reader by force. Every lesson he put some music in front of me that I had never seen before and made me sight read it. He taught me tricks on how to do it better, like looking over the music before starting and checking out the key and time signature, as well as spotting where the more difficult sections were.
After two years of private teaching I started to become a good sight reader. Many of my band mates were not. Before the school year started, we had a band camp and would learn new music and marching formations for the upcoming football season and competitions. During one band practice Jim Crumbly, our band director, handed out a new piece of music called “Gospel John”. I was familiar with this song since I had listened to it on an album of trumpet virtuoso Maynard Ferguson, but this was a different marching band arrangement. The music was quite challenging, so when we started playing most of my bandmates stopped playing a short time after starting. Mr. Crumbly understood the problem and said that it was OK because the music was so difficult. Then he gave us a challenge and said that if anyone could play through the music by the next practice they would get an “A”.
I then opened my big mouth and said, “I can play it perfectly today!” Mr. Crumbly had a startled look on his face and then said, “Go ahead and play it perfectly for us then!”. I then played through the music from beginning to end without any mistakes. Mr. Crumply then gave me an “A” grade and one of my bandmates said, “Way to go Perfect Pete!” and that’s how I got the nickname. I don’t remember which one of my bandmates said it but if they are reading this please comment below!
As for the subject for this blog on “Science Technology and Beyond” is concerned, I am also a bit of a science nerd, and even had college level courses on the Earth Sciences even though I was a music major. With so much negativity in the world, I wanted to write about something positive. So please subscribe to by blog if you like what I am writing about. I will try not to sound like a science nerd and explain everything in layman’s terms. Please let me know what you think.