Blowing for Elkhart

Hobbled as I am by residual injury—I wear an ankle brace and limp a bit—and wheeling a large cornet/flugelhorn case, I was grateful when a man much younger than I held open a door for me as I entered the lobby for Elkhart’s Lerner Theatre.  I was there plenty early to play a concert set, and he was coming out as I was going in.  He appeared in a hurry, certainly going someplace with purpose.  I thought I really should be holding it for him, and told him so.  No, he said, I was the important one.

I was?

Which group was I with?  How was I enjoying the festival?  Everything OK?

River Rogues from Grand Rapids.

I was enjoying it a whole lot.

Everything was more than OK.  In fact, I told him treatment such as we were accorded could go to my head.  If I let it.

Clean and quiet housing; breakfast, lunch, and dinner; doors opened for me while I was walking into a venue; prolific thanks for doing the thing I/we do; obliging technicians who helped us to do it the way we wanted; water, towels . . . oh, and pay, too.

And the guy holding the door for me?  Ben Decker, a volunteer, one of the three primary organizers of the 2018 Elkhart Jazz Festival, a late-June, three-day jazz extravaganza.  Decker is now in his fifth year, responsible for securing the acts.  He and the rest of the 150 volunteers have done it...

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