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Rotary plays host to trumpet player

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Tony Horowitz, internationally renowned trumpet player, and his wife, Naomi, made an appearance Feb. 27 at the regular morning meeting of the Harker Heights Rotary Club.

Tony has been playing professionally since he was 11½ years old, and during his younger years shared the stage with Ray Charles.

His wife was a dentist in private practice until 1989, when she decided to the join the U.S. Army. That took the both of them to Europe. Tony took up his trumpet playing there as a solo stage performer and private teacher.

Horowitz himself served in the Army from 1968-1971 as a member of the 72nd Army Band and the 6th Army Headquarters Band. He was stationed at Fort Macarthur in Presidio, San Francisco.

With five weeks to go before his high school graduation, he was hired to go on the road as a professional trumpet player.

“When I auditioned, I played the piano with my left hand and the trumpet with my right hand,” Horowitz said.

He immediately became music director of several bands made up of guitar players for Bobbie Gentry, Jimmy Dean and Elvis Presley’s music coordinator and piano player.

“On the night of my graduation, I was working Reno, Nev., and alternating sets with Harry James, Louie Prima and Woody Herman,” he said.

At the age of 18, Horowitz was conducting bands for performers such as Minnie Pearl, Roy Rogers, Dale Robertson and numerous others.

In 1958, he formed his first band, “Tony’s Tones.” He not only created bands of his own, but performed on the road in musical festivals such as “Shindig65” with Gary Lewis and the Playboys and Dobie Gray. He toured with the Ray Charles Orchestra in 1973. In 1977, he toured with Lou Rawls. He toured with the Raquel Welch show in 1975.

Other familiar artists with whom he shared the stage include Jermaine Jackson, Lionel Richie, Quincy Jones, and Kenny Rogers.

In 1979, he performed studio work for TV shows such as “Happy Days,” “Laverne and Shirley,” “Knight Rider,” and “Falcon Crest,” in addition to Barry White and the Love Unlimited Orchestra.

The Horowitz’s were sent to Texas in 1993 where he met Tom Fairlie, head of the music department at Temple College. Horowitz joined the teaching staff and was active for six years in the Temple Jazz Festival and teaching instrumental classes.

During a military stint with his wife in Germany in 1999, he wrote and produced a modern Dixieland-style collection called “Texas Trumpet.”

He retired from live performance work in 2007.

He expressed thanks for teachers who encouraged him to realize his dream, and to organizations such as Rotary who

spearhead children’s education through “service above self.”

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