My High School Years

Max Culpepper

Our high school, Cherry Hill High School East, had a wonderful music teacher, Max Culpepper. Many of my friends took trombone lessons with him. I had French Horn lessons from his wife, Ginger. The atmosphere that they created at the high school together with the other music teachers brought a deep love for music to me and many of my classmates. It’s amazing how many students actually made a career in music, thanks to Max. Alan Fletcher and Eric Townell, for example, have become quite well known. Fletcher is president of the Aspen Music Festival, and Townell  is Music Director at the Rochester Oratorio Society. This coming weekend, we’re going to have a reunion at my sister Karen’s house (who played bass trombone) with many of the members of the high school band and orchestra. One of the things that was important to Max was the performance of contemporary music. It was really special, not only to have met composers like David Amram, Karel Husa and Václav Nelhybel, but to have perfomed premieres by some of these composers as a high school student. I’m sure that this was one of the reasons that I became a composer. I can’t wait to see all of my old friends and colleagues after all these years… My bags are packed and I’m ready to go…

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