Tag Archives: dallas

Ryan Anthony: CancerBlows

With His Foundation, Trumpeter Starts a Movement for Cancer Research

A world-class trumpeter and soloist, former Canadian Brass member, and principal trumpet for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Ryan Anthony is used to the rigor of performance. But for the last few years, his perspective on and off the stage has been severely tested.

In 2012, at 43 years old, Anthony of Local 72-147 (Dallas-Fort Worth) was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a form of cancer that typically appears in patients 65 and older. Following a stem cell transplant, while in recovery, he received a deluge of support from the music community.

Doc Severinsen of Local 802 (New York City) and Local 47 (Los Angeles) called to ask how he could help. Anthony replied, “When I’m healthy again, I’d like to share the stage with you one more time.” During his long recovery, Anthony heard from trumpet players across the country offering support. He would joke, “When I’m well, we’ll all play a concert and call it ‘Cancer Blows.’” 

The concert not only happened three years later, it brought together a veritable who’s who of the brass-playing world. Anthony and his wife Niki thought that if a single concert could draw this much support—raising more than $1 million for cancer research—they could do more. They officially established The Ryan Anthony Foundation, specifically for cancer research, with proceeds going to the Baylor Health Care Research Foundation, the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, and other similar organizations.

CancerBlows concerts have taken off and have become the foundation’s premier event, featuring notables like Severinsen, who has been one of the organization’s most vocal supporters. Anthony says, “What’s amazing is the list of artists who surrounded me, who wanted to donate their time to make a difference.”

Key players who regularly participate are Local 47 members Arturo Sandoval, Wayne Bergeron, Wycliffe Gordon, Rashawn Ross (of the Dave Matthews Band), Local 10-208 (Chicago, IL) member Lee Loughnane, and former Canadian Brass players Joe Burgstaller, Jens Lindemann, and Ronald Romm. Others include Allen Vizzutti, Vince DiMartino of Local 554-635 (Lexington, KY), Michael Sachs, David Bilger, Tom Rolfs of Local 9-535 (Boston, MA), and Chris Martin and Randy Brecker of Local 802.

Known as a charismatic performer with a range of virtuosity, Anthony became principal trumpet of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in 2006. He had already embarked on an illustrious career as a 16-year-old prodigy, winning several national awards, including Seventeen Magazine/General Motors Concerto Competition’s grand prize. He studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM), followed by a trumpet professorship at Oberlin Conservatory.

For three years, he was a member of the esteemed Canadian Brass. From there, he began a wide-ranging career, encompassing coast-to-coast performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, Colorado Symphony, and the brass sections of the New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, and the Israel Philharmonic.

Brass legends line up for a CancerBlows concert to support the Ryan Anthony Foundation. Photo: Ryan Anthony Foundation

Anthony is heartened by the sheer number of musicians who have participated in his foundation’s concert. “Ironically, that’s what seems to be making the biggest difference in patients,” he says. “They’re seeing hundreds, if not thousands, of other musicians affected; they’re not alone.”

He has heard from cancer patients who say they are pressing on because of him, citing a piece that’s become the foundation’s anthem, “Song of Hope,” written for Anthony by his friend, British composer Peter Meechan. “[Patients] would begin and end their days with it,” he says. “It just changed their mental outlook, and therefore physical outlook. It started changing their numbers. And, remarkably, they started doing better.”

Another young patient, a musician, who had been hospitalized twice following suicide attempts, heard about the foundation and picked up the violin again. During a particularly grueling week for Anthony—after a change in medication—he was discouraged and thought it might be time to quit. But after a concert, he heard from the children of a patient who was in the audience that night. Their dad was resigned to living out his last years with no treatment. After hearing Anthony play, he had a change of heart.

In addition to funding medical research, the foundation serves the fine arts. Master classes are incorporated into each concert where students, some of whom have never been to the symphony, are introduced to the arts. Anthony says, “Other groups around the country are now doing concerts, raising funds and donating to CancerBlows.” This past year, he says “We’ve been getting requests and donations from groups and events in Europe and Australia. Some have called it a CancerBlows movement.”

Last month, a Dallas-based trumpet player and other musicians and volunteers biked across Nebraska for CancerBlows, kicking off the event with a pops concert in Lincoln, with another at the finish line. For five years, Lone Tree Brewing Company in Denver has hosted a fundraiser, crafting a special brew for the occasion.

For his work with patients—helping them manage their illness through music—Anthony received the Spirit of Hope award in 2016. In 2017, he received the Courage and Commitment award from the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF). In July, he was awarded the prestigious International Trumpet Guild’s Honorary Award.

An extended hospital stay prevented him from attending the guild convention, so his children accepted the award on his behalf. “Doc made a big speech and we FaceTimed so I could be there as the whole audience yelled out and congratulated me,” Anthony says. “There was this feeling of support and love.”

The AFM Dallas local has been essential in working toward important long-term disability options. “They’ve looked into the case, connecting us with people. They’ve been right by our side and behind us, and ready to go to bat when we need to,” Anthony says. “They even brought in outsiders more familiar with long-term disability issues. We’ve been able to lean heavily on the union, in these past few months, especially.”

During his recent 40-day hospitalization, the nurses heard a lot about Anthony and his work. They started sharing CancerBlows concerts with patients and were treated to private performances as Anthony tried to keep his chops. He now serves as principal trumpet emeritus and is visiting professor of trumpet practice and chair of the Winds and Brass Division at Southern Methodist University. He will also be a visiting professor of trumpet at the University of Texas this coming school year.

“If I can help others have a more positive attitude, get them to the next place and using music to make that change—if there is a good scenario— we’ve created one,” he says. “What’s so incredible is the whole idea of using music as a vehicle. I’m witnessing, even beyond the musicians, but truly with the general public—we’re seeing the power of [music] and the number of other people getting behind us.”

For more information on the Ryan Anthony Foundation, visit cancerblows.com.

Rich Redmond: Rocking Stage and Studio, Inspiring Hearts and Minds

Rocking Stage and Studio, Inspiring Hearts and Minds

Rich Redmond leaves a piece of his soul behind wherever he goes—whether he is drumming, producing, writing, acting, teaching, or speaking. As he says, “I’m a people person with a lot of heart. I bleed passion.” Drawing on his formal training, experience, and drumming virtuosity, Redmond has parlayed his considerable success—and energy—into a powerful tool to help others jumpstart or reset their careers. His “C.R.A.S.H. Course for Success” (and companion book, with Paul Deepan) is a unique educational program that combines motivational exercises, music, and drumming for musicians and professionals of all stripes.

“I tell students, your attitude is going to be 99.9% of life,” he says. “It’s literally everything because enthusiasm is contagious, and people want to be around musicians that are positive and that can take direction and are team players.”

Redmond of Local 257 (Nashville, TN) speaks from experience. He is now an award-winning recording and touring drummer based in Nashville and Los Angeles who has played with some of the biggest names in the music industry—Jason Aldean, Ludacris, Kelly Clarkson, Bryan Adams, Bob Seger of Local 784 (Pontiac, MI), Joe Perry, and Garth Brooks, to name a few—but he spent years of hard work, dedication, and rejections to get to where he is.

Rich Redmond of Local 257 (Nashville, TN) is an award-winning recording and touring drummer who is also a motivational speaker and author of the recent book, C.R.A.S.H. Course For Success: 5 Ways To Supercharge Your Personal and Professional Life.

He started playing drums at age six. At age 13, when he heard the The Police’s 1983 album Synchronicity—specifically, the drumming of Stewart Copeland of Local 802 (New York City)—that’s when he knew he wanted to play drums for the rest of his life. In high school he joined every band there was—concert, symphonic, marching, pep—and on nights and weekends had his own garage bands. He was a Texas all-state drummer for two years. In college at Texas Tech University he studied percussion and music education and played in every band he could. He went on to get a master’s degree in music education at the famed University of North Texas, and taught percussion in high school and college.

“Then I kicked around Dallas and played on cat food jingles and played in society bands and played smooth jazz and backed up jugglers and kicked jokes for comedians and played in killer Top 40 bands and in original music bands, and just played and played and played,” he says.

He became a member of Local 72-147 (Dallas-Fort Worth) in 1993, where local President Ray Hair (now AFM international president) was his “go-to guy.” In 1997, Redmond moved to Nashville to become a session player. “On my first day in Nashville I joined the local union,” he says.

He has spoken often about the benefits of joining the AFM and why he is a member, he says, because he wants musicians to know a professional organization is out there to help them. He loves the community aspect of the Federation, that musicians mix and mingle together, that the union creates a paper trail for its members’ contracts and payments and “always has your back and continues to get you paid,” he says.

One aspect of union membership that Redmond considers “priceless” is the affiliation with the insurance company that provides musical instrument insurance. “That’s a great reason right there to be in the union, that insurance plan,” he says. “It covers you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, anywhere in the world from everything but locust attacks and nuclear war.” He says most insurance companies won’t cover instruments but, for someone like him, where his equipment is his livelihood, insurance is a must-have. “So, the union is like solidarity. It’s a fraternity. It’s a community of like-minded individuals. There’s the protection; there is a team mentality of someone watching your back and going after your money. The professional support is great.”

For the past 20 years, Redmond has been Jason Aldean’s recording and touring drummer. He is a three-time Modern Drummer Readers Poll winner in the Country Drummer category, a 2010 winner in the clinician category, and in 2011 he was named Best Country Drummer by Drum! magazine. He has played on 26 No. 1 hit songs, as well as co-produced and written three no. 1 hit radio songs.

When he’s not in the studio or on tour, Redmond is writing songs, producing records, authoring books, and acting. One of his great passions is motivating others with his “C.R.A.S.H. Course For Success: 5 Ways To Supercharge Your Personal and Professional Life”—a motivational speech program that he has been giving for the past decade, and about which he published a book by the same name earlier this year.

“The message is basically built on an acronym, which stands for Commitment, Relationships, Attitude, Skill, And Hunger. These are five things that anyone from any walk of life can use to cultivate more success, more enjoyment in both their personal and professional life,” Redmond says. As he writes in his book, “In my experience, people who show unshakeable Commitment to their dreams, to their craft, and their Relationships while maintaining a positive Attitude and rejecting complacency are the ones who tend to be ‘lucky’ enough to be in the right place at the right time. … The CRASH! formula gives you a method for working hard, executing your plans effectively, and transforming your life.”

Redmond uses his drums during his motivational speeches in a talk-play-talk-play format, which resonates with people young and old, he says. Whether he is talking to Fortune 500 company executives, pharmaceutical reps, real estate agents, or high school and college students, Redmond’s message is the same. He urges his listeners to have a laser focus and a vision for their future, a lot of determination and solid follow-through. “Hard work will trump raw talent every time, but if you have both of those things, you really can be unstoppable. It’s a universal message, and a customizable message,” he says. “And I wrap it all up by saying you have to stay hungry for success. Whether you’re a first-year musician or, like me, I’ve been playing the drums for 43 years. I’m only going to stay relevant by staying hungry for success in realizing that passion is my engine and hard work is the fuel. So, if I’m passionate about music, it doesn’t feel like I’m working hard and the harder I work, the luckier I get, which becomes a cycle of self-empowerment.”

To learn more about Rich Redmond and his course, visit his websites at richredmond.com and crashcourseforsuccess.com.

Freddie Jones Believes in Trumpet

For Freddie Jones trumpet is everything. It has been a huge part of his life ever since he picked the instrument up at around age 12. Raised in Memphis, Tennessee, his mom had a beauty salon on the corner near Stax Records. The young musician was immersed in the local music scene. Brothers Willy Mitchell (trumpet) and James Mitchell (saxophone) who founded the Memphis Horns; Mickey Gregory who played with Isaac Hayes; and Ben Cauley—were among his heroes.

“They were neighborhood guys; it was very inspirational. You had all that music coming out of Memphis and we were playing it in high school and junior high,” he says. “I was probably in the 6th grade when the Bar-Kays came out with Soul Finger.


Freddie Jones of Local 72-147 (Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX) founded the charity Trumpets4Kids, which provides children with quality trumpets and helps them succeed through music.

Jones began playing trumpet professionally as a teenager, first joining AFM Local 71 (Memphis, TN). “I’ve been in four different unions,” says the now Local 72-147 (Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX) member. “I think it’s important to have a consortium of people you can talk to.”

While still in high school, he was hired as part of an opening act for Bobby Womack, and was thrilled when he was invited by Ben Cauley himself to sit in with the main act. He says that experience was amazing. “Just to be in those places … but instead of hanging out I got to play.”

After graduating from high school, Jones began college at Memphis State, then attended Central State University in Ohio, though he admits he was out on the road gigging much of the time. He traveled through the Dallas/Fort Worth area several times with different bands and eventually transferred to the University of North Texas where he earned a degree in jazz studies.

Following college, Jones stayed in the area and slowly built a career. Aside from his many gigs in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, he has performed throughout the Southwest, and even overseas. His band, the Freddie Jones Jazz Group, has been together for almost 10 years. Jones has put out five CDs, including his most recent album, Your Last Move (2012), which he describes at a funky mixture of sounds that started out as a smooth jazz record.

Jones may be most well-known in the Dallas area as the trumpet player for the Dallas Cowboys, performing the National Anthem on solo trumpet before every home game since 2013. That gig, which has him routinely playing for 80,000 people at AT&T Stadium, was not something he ever thought he’d be doing.

Not a huge football fan, Jones says it was kind of ironic that he was asked to audition. He knew a couple former players. Emmitt Smith, Drew Pearson, and others would come see Jones play around Dallas. Coincidentally, the blue Martin Committee trumpet that he’s been playing since the 1980s is almost a perfect match for Cowboy blue.

Of all of Jones’ work, the one accomplishment he seems most proud of is the founding of the nonprofit Trumpets4Kids. The organization uses music as a tool to help children learn and shape their lives. “Music fosters the development of attention and listening skills; it assists in emotional development; and music involvement is known to enhance self-esteem and confidence,” explains the Trumpets4Kids.com website.

“The goal of the organization is to empower youth to create together and independently in order to have a future,” Jones says. “We donate trumpets to students who have a need. We give them a trumpet they can be proud of, and let that push them towards their goals.” The trumpets given out are all good quality instruments—sometimes former instruments of professional players. He says the trumpet community has been “amazingly” supportive of the program.

But Trumpets4Kids is about more than just donating instruments; it’s a whole program with built-in lessons in responsibility and playing opportunities. The students selected in about 9th grade are interviewed by Jones himself. Before handing over the trumpets, the kids are asked to sign a contract agreeing to practice one hour per day, maintain the trumpet, as well as teach, help, and perform for other kids.

One Trumpets4Kids event that has grown over the years is Trumpet Wars. This activity was inspired by Jones’ days as a teenager in Memphis when he’d meet up with other musicians on street corners to challenge each other. The next Trumpet War will be held at Texas Wesleyan University, Fort Worth, on March 7 and will include competitions between trumpet trios, quartets, and quintets from all over the area.

“You can’t play trumpet by yourself all the time,” says Jones. Participants in the program also attend Interlochen music programs, and play in the Fort Worth Youth Orchestra, as well as the Dallas Youth Orchestra.

Trumpets4Kids’ mission is to help children succeed, no matter what career they choose to follow. But Jones has some special advice for young people launching a career in music. You have to be very diligent and focused on music, and get an education. And finally, he concludes, “I believe we all need somebody to help us at some point.”

Festival Brings Free Live Music to Denton

At the end of April, the Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF), the Film Funds Trust Fund, and Local 72-147 (Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX) helped Denton, Texas, celebrate its arts community at the Denton Arts and Jazz Festival. This free public event features around 3,000 performers and attracts more than 200,000 attendees annually. All of the musicians paid to perform at the event are union members.

This year’s acts included Dr. John, a member of Locals 174-496 (New Orleans, LA) and 802 (New York City); the University of North Texas Faculty Jazz Ensemble, members of Local 72-147; and Denton’s own Brave Combo, also members of Local 72-147.

Because Denton is AFM President Ray Hair’s home town, each year he rolls up his sleeves and heads to Texas to help run the event over the entire three days. It’s a chance for him to interact and connect with member musicians in their community.

“We started the event as DentonJazzfest 30 years ago, on a Sunday afternoon, on a flatbed trailer, in the park, with Brave Combo and the UNT Jazz Faculty, all sponsored by MPTF and former Fort Worth Local 72,” says AFM President Ray Hair. “Each year, it became more popular and eventually morphed into Denton Arts and Jazz Festival, attracting hundreds of thousands of festivalgoers.”

This year AFM Freelance Services Membership Development Director Paul Sharpe also attended. Sharpe interacted with performing musicians, discussing musician issues and needs and answering questions at the grass-roots level. He also collected a wealth of video commentary about the union from its members.

For the first time, MPTF Trustee Dan Beck and Film Funds Trustee Robert Jaffe visited the event.

“What impressed me most was the spirit of joy and participation, not only among the performers, but among the attendees as well,” says Jaffe. “Despite some unpredictable, and sometimes downright inclement weather, the attendance was great, the music was outstanding, and the crowds were unbelievably responsive.”

“The festival’s impact on the entire Denton community was visibly evident. Beyond the free public performances of celebrity talent, the extraordinary participation of music students at all age levels was impressive and every bit of what the MPTF advocates,” concludes Beck.

Dr. John the Night Tripper, a member of Local 174-496 (New Orleans, LA) headlined the Denton Arts & Jazz Festival

Dr. John the Night Tripper, a member of Local 174-496 (New Orleans, LA) headlined the Denton Arts & Jazz Festival

AFM President Ray Hair (center) at Denton Arts & Jazz Festival with MPTF Trustee Dan Beck (left) and Film Funds Trustee Robert Jaffe.

AFM President Ray Hair (center) at Denton Arts & Jazz Festival with MPTF Trustee Dan Beck (left) and Film Funds Trustee Robert Jaffe.

Local 72-147 member Jordache Grant performed with the Mark Harper Project.

Local 72-147 member Jordache Grant performed with the Mark Harper Project.

Bassist Drew Phelps performed with his sons, Garrett (pictured) and Nathan; all three are members of Local 72-147 (Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX).

Bassist Drew Phelps performed with his sons, Garrett (pictured) and Nathan; all three are members of Local 72-147 (Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX).