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As an AFM member, you are part of a membership of more than 80,000 musicians. Experience has proven that collective activity on behalf of individuals with similar interests is the most effective way to achieve a goal. The AFM can negotiate agreements and administer contracts, procure valuable benefits and achieve legislative goals. A single musician has no such power.

The AFM has a proud history of managing change rather than being victimized by it. We find strength in adversity, and when the going gets tough, we get creative - all on your behalf.

Like the industry, the AFM is also changing and evolving, and its policies and programs will move in new directions dictated by its members. As a member, you will determine these directions through your interest and involvement. Your membership card will be your key to participation in governing your union, keeping it responsive to your needs and enabling it to serve you better. To become a member now, visit www.afm.org/join.

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Home » Articles » Bobby Baird: The Man with a Horn
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Bobby Baird: The Man with a Horn

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by Edward J. Zebrowski, Secretary of Local 140 (Wilkes-Barre, PA)

bobby baird

Still an active performer, trumpet player Bobby Baird has been a member of Local 140 (Wilkes-Barre, PA) for more than 73 years.

It was my pleasure recently to spend some time talking with Bobby Baird about his musical career—a career that has spanned most of eight decades. Baird began playing trumpet at a very early age. He played his first solo at the age of five for his grandfather and never stopped. 

Baird joined Local 140 (Wilkes-Barre, PA) September 30, 1944. He had to be granted a special exemption from the minimum age requirement in effect at the time, since he was only 14 years old!

On September 30, 2017, Baird will achieve the enviable record of having been a member of Local 140 for 73 consecutive years. To the best of my knowledge, no other member has ever achieved that milestone. We at Local 140 are honored to have had Baird as a member all these years.

When he was 18, Baird achieved another milestone: he became the youngest member of the United States Navy Band to be chosen as concert trumpet soloist. It was a position he went on to hold with many bands, including several local bands, such as the Stegmaier Gold Medal Band, during its heyday.

During his stint with the Navy Band, they toured all 48 contiguous states and Canada. It is worth mentioning that Baird, who led his own Dixieland Jazz Band for many years, can still blow the doors off trumpeters who are half his age. Baird still performs actively, and says he will continue to do so as long as he has the breath to blow through that piece of brass.

On a more personal note, Bobby Baird and his wife, Pat, recently celebrated their 63rd anniversary. Congratulations to them both! 

When you talk with Baird, you quickly become aware that he is a very humble and modest man. He provided a number of newspaper articles to use as background information, but he also made it very clear that he was more interested in having people know that he has been a trumpeter for eight decades and a union member for 73 years. He wasn’t interested in having me write about all his accomplishments—performing for several presidents, being honored recently with a special tribute by the Back Mountain Chamber, playing in a Grammy-winning band, or the many other well-deserved accolades and awards he has received.

Baird has a great sense of humor. During a recent conversation, he asked me how old I was and I told him. He says, “Heck, you’re just a kid!” For that, Bobby, you have my profound thanks. It’s been a long, long time since anybody said that to me! 

All of us at Local 140 hope Bobby Baird will be around sharing his wonderful music with us for many more years.





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