Roger Ingram Performs At Town Hall


On a bright afternoon on October 19, a normally empty parking lot at the Waterford Town Hall was slowly filling up as people went inside. One might wonder what type of event was happening. That day, Roger Ingram would be performing with Jim Stewart’s Jump Swing Fever Orchestra (you might know Jim Stewart from Stewart’s Music). Ingram has been the first call lead trumpet in the U.S. for the past 35 years.

When the concert started, Jump Swing Fever performed a few jazz tunes for the audience while Ingram took a break. He gave a trumpet master class for anyone interested before the concert.

Mr. Fioravanti told the jazz ensemble that Ingram would be in town for a few days to give classes and lectures, and I decided that it would be interesting to see how the well-known musician played his instrument. Mr. Fioravanti is the drummer of Jump Swing Fever.

 Finally, Ingram was ready to perform. The piece they played first started off as a normal tune, but then, the first note Ingram played surprised me. He had high chops like none I had ever heard before. As I learned in my jazz classes, getting high notes on a trumpet requires years of mastery to play them without wavering. Ingram played high notes throughout the concert without any wavering.

 When the concert was over, I asked Ingram how he became interested in playing trumpet. “I grew up in the 60s, when there were lots of variety shows. I loved the music for the openings and decided it would be fun if I played along to them. I took a trumpet and played the songs by ear.”

What was even more surprising, he did not think he would be a lead trumpet player in the following years. “I just started out as a regular player, and one day I was placed as lead trumpet because I could read well, and suddenly all these high notes started popping up,” he explained.

The main parts of becoming skilled at playing an instrument are practice and exposure, and Ingram had both of these. After being given the lead trumpet parts, he was required to practice in order to play the high notes well.

An important lesson that Ingram has for aspiring performers: “You can’t build skyscrapers on a weak foundation.” Becoming a professional is not magic, nor is it a gift given at birth. In order to become a stellar performer, one must practice as much as possible, whether it’s a half an hour or three hours a day, and years of dedication are necessary. Personally, I know the amount of work required to become a good musician. I have been playing piano for almost nine years, and only last year have I truly mastered the ability to solo and to learn difficult pieces quickly. And yet, I still need many more years of practice to become more as a professional.

 On a final note, Ingram shared what he felt was the most enjoyable about his music career: “To put it simply, I love seeing all of the different places, meeting different people, and having different experiences everywhere I go.” If your dream is to become a musician, prepare for a lot of travelling and seeing many new faces everywhere you go. One day you might have a gig in Toronto, and the next day might take you to San Francisco.”