Magazine article International Musician

Career Moves Coast to Coast and Back Again

Magazine article International Musician

Career Moves Coast to Coast and Back Again

Article excerpt

In his 70-year career. Art Depew of Local 47 (Los Angeles) has performed everywhere from the Walter Reed Army Medical Center hospital in Washington, DC, to The Lawrence Welk Show in Hollywood. And he has enjoyed every minute of it.

Growing up in West Palm Beach, Florida, Depew became fascinated with music at an early age, playing a bugle around the house by the time he was 11. He would eventually pick up the trumpet, a suggestion made by his father. Depew's music career began a few years later, when he joined a local orchestra.

"We had a 10- or 11-piece band and we played the Lake Worth Casino," he said. "I always wanted to be a trumpet player from that point on."

Before graduating from high school, Depew moved with his family from Florida to Selma, Alabama. He continued to play trumpet, at his new high school in Auburn. Depew later attended Alabama University, majoring in music.

However, Depew's days in the south ended, when he left Alabama for New York City. He joined the Duke Ambassadors Band, and later, Bob Chester's Orchestra. His experience with Chester led Depew out to the West Coast, and to an opportunity to film a movie. "We made the world's worst movie, called Tracadero," says a laughing Depew.

As a young musician in Hollywood, Depew was called to join Horace Heidt on a local radio program-but that gig didn't last long. "While I was working with Horace, Bob Chester asked me to come back and be the lead trumpet, which I really wanted to do. I had enlisted in the Army and was going to be called up soon, so I decided to go back with Bob Chester," Depew says.

In 1944, Depew was called up to the Army. He was stationed at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, DC, where he joined the 304th Army Service Forces Band. "The nice thing about that was, fortunately, in that band was [drummer] Louie Bellson, and I got to learn a lot about drumming," Depew says. …

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