I am retired and take educated guesses on all things financial.

August 20, 2008

August 20, 2008: Happy 91st, Mr. Frank Boker

I think everyone should have at least one teacher that not only taught superbly, but was there to encourage - and demand - maturity, loyalty and passion to their subject, to be a White Knight when things were not going well at home, in school or with other scholastic relationships.

A lifelong friend of almost fifty years (in itself an achievement, but that is for another day) e-mailed to inform me that a number of alumni of this teacher's training were intent upon inundating him with 91st birthday wishes.

This teacher, my elementary and junior high school Band Director and first private instructor on clarinet and saxophone, was my inspiration and God for the years of his direct contact with me and for my life. He taught me well...years of Solo Clarinet in the Illinois All-State Band and Orchestra (they gave me the option of which one), a nifty stint of four years as concertmaster of a major university band, orchestra and wind ensemble, professional musician and then on to other endeavors after a bout with Bell's Palsy stopped a music performance career dead in it's tracks at age twenty-two.

Coming from a poor area of close Suburban Chicago, this teacher raised my personal expectations, goals, objectives and morale all the time, unconditionally. He led me in the appropriate direction, taught me to accept compliments, and even more importantly, criticism and disappointment gracefully and to always inwardly prove doubters and foes wrong by deeds and not words or worse.

In short, he was and is my hero. So, Mr. Frank Boker of LaGrange Park, Illinois, here's to a great teacher and mentor. I hope you enjoyed my gift, Gunther Schuller's book, The History Of Jazz - The Swing Era. And I thank you with highest regards for your being there for me and many others who still remember you 45 years and more after you touched our lives.


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