Super Bowl LIV – an exceptional fan experience thanks to the Chicago Bears and the NFL

Super Bowl LIV – an exceptional fan experience thanks to the Chicago Bears and the NFL

My wife and I love professional football and are season tickets holders (STH) for the Chicago Bears. Last fall, I entered a contest that the Bears sponsored, and the prize was a pair of tickets to Super Bowl LIV (54), held in Miami on February 2, 2020. Well, not just tickets to the game. A few other things were included as well.  As I wrote about previously on The Last Trombone, I entered the contest—which required entrants to compose a 100 word essay to answer the question, “Who would you take to the Super Bowl, and why?”—and I nominated my son-in-law, Chad. And my essay was selected as the winner out of thousands of entries. Wow.

Ever since Chicago Bears Chairman George McCaskey (son of Bears owner, Virginia Halas McCaskey) called me last November to give me this happy news, Chad and I have been preparing to go to the Super Bowl. We knew the Bears were giving us tickets to the game, three nights of lodging in a Miami hotel, and airfare to Miami. What more could we ask for?! What we didn’t know was exactly what was in store for us during those days apart from going to the game itself. Now that we are back home from what I can only describe as a remarkable experience, I’ve had a little time to reflect on all that happened thanks to the generosity of the Chicago Bears.

Friday, January 31

Doug_Chad_OHare_Super_Bowl LIV_flight

It was snowing as I pulled out of our driveway to pick up Chad and drive to Chicago’s O’Hare airport. Fortunately, the flight to Miami was uneventful and after we landed, we navigated Miami’s terminal to rent a car.

Doug_Chad_Miami_Airport_Super_Bowl_LIV

The airport was in full blown Super Bowl host mode, with Super Bowl signage and extra staff that was happy to help the huge invasion of visiting fans. While the Chicago Bears were not in the Super Bowl, we were proud to represent the Bears in Miami on behalf of all Bears season ticket holders. For us, it was all Bears gear, all the time, as you can see in these photos of us from Super Bowl weekend.

We drove to our hotel, the Biltmore Miami/Coral Gables. This is not the kind of hotel where our family usually stays on vacation! But the Bears and the National Football League (NFL),who partnered in this experience, pulled out all the stops in booking us in a 5-star, luxury hotel. Our room’s bathroom was bigger than a lot of hotel rooms I’ve stayed in. I’m serious!

Biltmore_Miami_dinner_Super_Bowl_LIV_Yeo

Immediately upon checking in, Chad and I headed to our first activity of the weekend, a dinner in the Biltmore’s Ahlambra Ballroom. It was a spectacular feast and it was there that we learned more about what we would be doing throughout the weekend.

As we were told, each of the NFL’s 32 teams selected a season ticket holder (along with one guest) to receive a unique Super Bowl experience. Most teams conducted a random drawing; the Bears were the only ones (as far as I could learn) who chose a fan through an essay contest. At dinner, we began to meet the fans from other teams who had been selected to share in this special Super Bowl Experience.

NFC_North_table_Biltmore_Super_Bowl_LIV

[NFC North table at the Biltmore. Left to right, fans from the Chicago Bears (Chad and me), Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings, and Green Bay Packers. Photo by Nicole Blake.]

We were all seated at tables according to our NFL division. Our table, representing the NFC North, was in the front of the room, and we sat with fans from the Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings, and Green Bay Packers. We also met Nicole Blake; she works for the NFL and was our exceptionally helpful NFL representative who took great care of our division throughout the weekend.

Doug_Chad_jersey_Super_Bowl_LIV

We were all given a custom NFL jersey in the style of our team’s jersey, each with the number 54 emblazoned on the front and back (for Super Bowl LIV), and the words “Super Bowl” across the back. These are real really special jerseys, and for us, it’s nice that they bear the number 54 which was worn by Bears Hall of Fame linebacker, Brian Urlacher. We wore the jerseys to all events during the weekend which was a good way for us to visually keep up with our group (and for our NFL reps like Nicole Blake to keep up with us).

Al_Riveron_presentation_Super_Bowl_LIV

During dinner, we had a private presentation by Al Riveron, the NFL’s Sr. Vice President of Officiating. This was really interesting. Really. Interesting. Every fan is passionate about officiating—especially when calls don’t go the way you want them to go. We all learned a lot about NFL rules and how they are applied—much more than had previously known—and there was an energetic back-and-forth between all of us and Al Riveron as he explained the nuances of rules and officiating. Sorry, Cowboy fans, Dez Bryant didn’t catch the ball (as shown on the photo above). But the rule, “What is a catch?”, was changed the next season and under the current rule, it would have been a catch. It was a terrific presentation, and it made me want to read the NFL rule book, a link to it which was kindly provided to me by Nicole Blake. You can read the rule book for yourself; click HERE to see it on the NFL website as a downloadable PDF file.

Doug_Chad_STH_profile_Super_Bowl_LIV

We also received a booklet with information about all of the participants in the STH program, a bit of each of our story, and how we were selected. Here (photo above) is what the Bears submitted about Chad and me.

Doug_Chad_NFL_Experience_01

After dinner, Chad and I drove to Miami Beach to take in the Super Bowl LIV Experience. The NFL provided us with tickets to the event which mostly had interactive games and activities for fans, as well as a NFL shop of epic proportions full of Super Bowl LIV gear.

Chicago_Bears_Super_Bowl_XX_ring

Among the many exhibits at the Super Bowl LIV Experience was a display that featured all 53 Super Bowl Champion rings. Among them was the Chicago Bears Super Bowl XX ring from 1986, when the Bears defeated the New England Patriots, 46-10. The display was really impressive, from the modest rings of early Super Bowls to the outrageously large ring made for the New England Patriots when they won Super Bowl LIII last year, their record (along with the Pittsburgh Steelers) sixth Super Bowl victory.

George_Halas_trophy_Super_Bowl_LIV

There were also displays that included championship trophies, including the George S. Halas Championship Trophy, given each year to the NFC Conference Champion. It was named after George S. Halas, founder, owner, player, and coach of the Bears, and the man who is considered to be the “father of the NFL’ when it was founded in 1920.

And Chad and I had a little fun, climbing up behind a model of a 6’6″ Chicago Bear. Uh, no, those are not really our bodies!

Saturday, February 1

Saturday was devoted to attending the annual NFL Honors event where players and coaches are honored with awards in various categories, including Most Valuable Player, Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year, Coach of the Year, etc. Chad and I had watched the program on television in previous years so we were really interested to get a first hand, up close look at how it all came together.

Doug_Chad_NFL_Honors_2020_01

After meeting in the lobby of the Biltmore Hotel, we all boarded two busses for the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami. This was one of the great things about the weekend: for both NFL Honors and the Super Bowl, we left the driving to someone else. Traffic around Miami was truly crazy, and we were very happy to just go along for the ride. We walked along the red carpet past dozens of media outlets whose photographers and videographers were busy setting up for the arrival of NFL players, coaches, and celebrities.

9th Annual NFL Honors

Once inside, we were all positioned on risers backstage where we could watch the proceedings on huge television monitors while being up close to many of the attendees and award winners before and after they received their awards. This was, to me, much more interesting than being out in the audience in the theater, since we got to see how photos, videos, and interviews came about. [Photo above by Logan Bowles, courtesy the National Football League.]

Jackson_Henry_NFL_Honors_2020

For instance, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson and Tenessee Titans running back Derrick Henry were named FedEx Air and Ground Players of the Year. Before the ceremony, they came backstage to be photographed with their trophies. The photo above was taken by me from our vantage point backstage. In the somewhat chaotic scene,  you can see the photographer, a man who is operating a laptop that showed each photo, and another person assisting in the setup.

Jackson_Henry_NFL_Honors_NFL

The photo above shows the same moment, as the photo was post-produced for the NFL’s  Twitter feed [photo courtesy of the National Football League]. No more chaos; just two happy players with their awards. I love seeing how things work and come together. While it was a long day of sitting and standing, ours was a very special view of the NFL Honors event.

9th Annual NFL Honors

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell came by to greet us, and Chad and I each enjoyed a brief moment of conversation with him. While it’s easy for fans to be critical of the Commissioner when he metes out discipline to a player on your team, I have to say that we have great respect for the Commissioner. He has a Herculean job and all things considered, we feel he does an excellent job of helping to steer the NFL in good directions for fans, players, and owners. It was a privilege to meet him, have a few words with him, and shake his hand. [Photo above by Logan Bowles, courtesy the National Football League.]

Chad_John_Harbaugh_NFL_Honors_2020

Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh came backstage to be photographed and interviewed after he accepted the NFL Honors award for NFL Coach of the Year. He recognized our Bears jerseys and immediately came up to Chad and me. Harbaugh’s younger brother, Jim, had been a quarterback for the Bears from 1987-1993 (he is now the football coach at University of Michigan). Chad had a nice chat with Coach Harbaugh who was enthusiastic over seeing Bears fans backstage.

Steve_Harvey_Chad_Doug_NFL_Honors_Super_Bowl_LIV

Chad and I also had a brief moment on camera in the NFL Honors telecast, when host Steve Harvey came through the red carpet to interview a few of us. The photo above shows Chad and me on the broadcast as we appeared on the television broadcast. Fun stuff.

IMG_5924

A highlight of the NFL Honors experience was seeing the 2019 Walter Payton Man of the Year, Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell. This annual award, named for Walter Payton, legendary running back of the Chicago Bears, is given to one NFL player each year in recognition of his exceptional volunteer and charity award. Shown above is Calais Campbell with (left to right), Brittney Payton (Walter Payton’s daughter), Connie Payton (Walter Payton’s widow), and Jarrett Payton (Walter Payton’s son). We have a lot of pride in Chicago that this award is named for one of our own Chicago Bears. I had seen Calais Campbell play many times when my wife and I lived in Arizona (for six years before we moved to the Chicago area) and we were season ticket holders with the Arizona Cardinals; Campbell was a member of the Arizona Cardinals from 2008-2016. I was delighted to see Campbell honored as the 2019 NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year. He is highly deserving of this, the NFL’s highest honor.

Sunday, February 2

Mike_North_presentation_Biltmore_Super_Bowl_LIV

Super Bowl Sunday began with breakfast at the Biltmore Hotel’s Alhambra Ballroom , where NFL Vice President of Broadcast Planning, Mike North (shown in the photo above), gave a presentation on how the NFL schedule is made up each year. I’ve known it’s complicated, but Mike North let us see just HOW complicated it is. There are so many factors to take into consideration. How is THIS (below) for a list of just SOME of the factors that have to be taken into consideration when the schedule is made each year:

NFL_Schedule_constraints_Super_Bowl_LIV_Mike_North_presentation

Mike North, like Ron Riveron on Friday night, was very engaging, and we all enjoyed interacting with him, asking questions and learning so much. Chad and I left the presentation with an even greater appreciation for all the NFL does to put the product we know as the National Football League in front of fans around the world from August into February each year.

Doug_Chad_Super_Bowl_LIV_tickets

After breakfast, Chad and I took a walk around the impressive Biltmore property and then got ready to go to the game. We all met in the lobby of the Biltmore hotel where we were given our game tickets. Our seats were to be in an end zone, section 330, row 12. While my wife and I are certainly spoiled by our incredible 50 yard line seats as season ticket holders for the Chicago Bears, it’s always interesting to sit in different locations and get a different view of the playing field and stadium. With tickets in hand, we headed for the bus and we were off to Hard Rock Stadium for Super Bowl LIV.

Doug_Chad_Hard_Rock_Stadium_Super_Bowl_LIV

Once again, we were really happy someone else was doing the driving. Having our own charter bus to get to Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium (the home of the Miami Dolphins) made getting to the stadium a very relaxing experience. We arrived at the stadium at 2:00 pm (kickoff would be at 6:30 pm). Once there, we began to take in the scene. From cold and snowy in Chicago two days ago, Chad and I were standing in Miami’s 70 degree sunshine. Hard Rock Stadium underwent a major renovation in 2015. Among the many changes made at that time was the addition of a canopy that covers all seats and protects fans from rain and sun, leaving a large opening in the middle so the field is exposed to sunlight. The result was a modernistic update to the stadium that was originally built in 1987.

Kansas_City_Chiefs_fan_bus

Super Bowl LIV was to be played by the San Francisco 49ers (representing the NFC) and the Kansas City Chiefs (representing the AFC). The two teams had great seasons and we knew we were in for a terrific matchup and game. Because we didn’t have a rooting interest in either team, we were going to enjoy a game where we could just appreciate the whole experience without the stress of seeing our team losing—or the joy of seeing it winning. Chiefs and 49ers fans were out in full force (such as the funny Kansas City Chiefs fan bus in the photo above) and the fan vibe outside the stadium was raucous, enthusiastic, and fun.

Hard_Rock_Stadium_Super_Bowl_LIV

When we met at the Biltmore lobby and our Super Bowl tickets were distributed, we were also given wristbands (with embedded security chips) that would allow all of us to have access to the field at Hard Rock Stadium before the game. When we passed through security at 2:50 pm and got our first view of the inside of the stadium, the “wow factor” was in full force. We were virtually alone in the stadium, and as we made our way to the field, the full impact of just how special it was to be there began to sink in.

Kansas_City_bench_Hard_Rock_Stadium_Super_Bowl_LIV

Our on-field access was to a dedicated area only for us, next to the Kansas City bench, near the Chiefs’ end zone. As time went on, players, coaches, and others began to arrive to get set up for the game.

Chad_Hard_Rock_Stadium_Super_Bowl_LIV

Chad loves sports stadiums. He’s been a passionate sports fan since he was a young boy, particularly for the Chicago Bears. He has a prodigious memory for stadium details, even down to particular plays he’s seen in different venues. It was a real joy to see him at Hard Rock Stadium, just taking in the scene.

Super_Bowl_LIV_Hard_Rock_Stadium_panorama

Being on the field was a spectacular experience. The panoramic photo above gives you a sense of where we were and what we looked out and saw. It was beautiful and more.

Doug_Chad_representing_Chicago_Bears_Super_Bowl_LIV

While our Chicago Bears were not in this year’s Super Bowl, we were keenly aware that the Bears had given us this amazing experience and in a very real sense, we were representing the team at the game. Many fans recognized our jerseys and shouted out “Go Bears!” and gave us high-fives and fist pumps. While on the field, I reached into my bag and pulled out a Bears rally towel, one that was given out at a Bears game this past season at Soldier Field. The Bears, as a founding franchise of the NFL in 1920 (one of only two still in existence, along with the Arizona Cardinals), celebrated their 100th season along with the NFL. Posing with my Bears rally towel was yet another tribute we could make to the team we love, in thanks for all the joy they give to our family and to so many other fans.

Patrick_Mahomes_Super_Bowl_LIV

From our vantage point on the field, we saw many players arrive. Shown above is Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (on the left) who, just a few hours later, would be both a Super Bowl champion and also Most Valuable Player (MVP) of Super Bowl LIV. We also saw various media outlets on the sideline conducting interviews and reporting from the scene.

NFC_North_on_field_Super_Bowl_LIV

The time on field was a rich one, as all of us in the STH Experience were together taking photos and taking it all in. A nice moment came when all of us representing teams from the NFC North (Lions, Packers, Vikings, and Bears) got together for a photo with Nicole Blake (center in the photo above). I have to say, Nicole took exceptionally great care of our division. She was always available to help in any way possible and was a fount of information. We could not have asked for a more competent, helpful, poised person to assist us in so many ways. You heard it here first: Don’t be surprised if some day, you hear that Nicole Blake is commissioner  of the National Football League. I’m serious. She’s that good! [Photo above by Logan Bowles, courtesy the National Football League.]

STM On Field Experience

Before we left the field, all of us who had been given this amazing Season Ticket Holder experience gathered for a group photo. Getting to meet and know many of these fans was a highlight of the weekend and something we will keep with us for a very long time. It was great to be with fans who were there to enjoy the game, were passionate about their team, and engaged in friendly, positive, collegial (non-“trash talk”) conversation. I’m glad to have met them. You can see Chad and me kneeling in the middle of the group in the right hand third of the photo. [Photo above by Logan Bowles, courtesy the National Football League.]

Hard_Rock_Stadium_section_330_Super_Bowl_LIV_view

By 4:45, we decided to leave the field and head to our seats. The stadium was slowly filling up and pregame entertainment was beginning to appear on the jumbotrons. We did a little shopping for Super Bowl souvenirs for family members and then walked up the ramp to section 320.

Doug_Chad_George_McCaskey_Super_Bowl_LIV

Then an extraordinary thing happened. We had been in our seats only a few minutes when who should come up to us but George McCaskey, Chairman of the Chicago Bears (center in the photo above). It was George who called me last November to tell me that my essay had been selected as the winning entry in the Bears’ Season Ticket Holder Super Bowl Contest. We have great admiration for the McCaskey family, beginning with George’s mother, Bears owner Virginia Halas McCaskey, who is the daughter of George Halas. From our seats in section 309 at Soldier Field, we can turn around and see Virginia McCaskey and her family in her owner’s box. We are very grateful for the way the McCaskey family runs the team. They are “stand up” people, a family that loves God, loves football, loves the Bears, and is very aware of the legacy that of which they are stewards. That George took the time to come to visit us in our seats was something I never could have expected. I didn’t see any other owners or Chairmen of any other teams making their way to visit winners of their Super Bowl ticket contest. We had a great conversation with George about the Bears, the Super Bowl, and how we all looked forward to the day when we would see the Chicago Bears in the Super Bowl once again. Thank you, George, for all the Chicago Bears and McCaskey family means to our family and to Bears fans around the world.

Part of the pregame entertainment was the airing of the NFL’s new commercial titled, “Next 100.” It is a continuation of the story that started at the beginning of this just past season, which was the 100th anniversary season of the NFL. Before the first game of the season (which was between two of the most storied franchises in NFL history, the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers), the NFL aired a commercial that featured dozens of current and former players at a banquet celebrating the NFL’s centennial. What happened as Commissioner Roger Goodell was addressing the players was quite something. Have a look at the NFL’s “100-year Game” commercial (to view the commercial on YouTube, click HERE):

As a follow up, the NFL created a new commercial that aired during the Super Bowl LIV pregame show. “Next 100” features 13 year old Maxwell Bunchie and a cast of current and former NFL players as well as youngsters who are currently playing the game. The commercial ended with Bunchie running onto the field at Hard Rock Stadium with a group of young players to the cheers of the crowd at Super Bowl LIV. The commercial became real. Have a look (to view the commercial on Youtube, click HERE):

I think this commercial is terrific. It brings together the youth football movement and the NFL, and it shows something of the future of the League. Of the many exceptional moments in the film, I was deeply moved by two segments. The first is where Maxwell Bunchie stands in front of the statue of Pat Tillman (who, while a member of the Arizona Cardinals, left the team after the 9/11 attacks and joined the U. S. Army; he was killed in Afghanistan in 2004) at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, home of the Arizona Cardinals. All music and other sounds stop in the commercial for a few seconds as Bunchie considers the sacrifice Tillman made in the service of his country.

Pat_Tillman_Next100_NFL

The other special moment is near the end, when Bunchie walks a gauntlet of NFL players to the end of the tunnel to a playing field. There he is met by Chicago Bears owner Virginia Halas McCaskey—now 97 years old—who gives Bunchie the game ball for the kickoff of Super Bowl LIV and says, “You know what to do.” Bunchie accepts the ball, nods his head, and runs onto the field in Hard Rock Stadium. Film to reality without missing a beat.

Virginia_Halas_McCaskey_Next100_NFL

With the showing of the “Next 100” commercial, the pregame activities moved ahead quickly. There was the introduction of many members of the NFL 100 All-Time Team, the 100 best players and 10 best coaches in NFL history. And then here was the singing of America the Beautiful by Yolanda Adams, and the National Anthem by Demi Lovato, both done very well and respectfully. Here is the video of Lovato singing the National Anthem (to view this video on YouTube, click HERE):

The coin toss was won by the 49ers who deferred to the second half, meaning the Chiefs got the ball first.

Kickoff_Super_Bowl_LIV

When the 49ers kicked off (photo above), Super Bowl LIV was underway. The first half seemed evenly matched which seemed a bit of a surprise. Many fans were expecting a high scoring game, but when halftime came and the score was tied at 10-10, it seemed like the game was wide open. But before the second half began, we had the Super Bowl halftime show ahead of us.

Suuper_Bowl_LIV_halftime_show_fan_bracelet_light

When we arrived at our seats before the game, we found a bracelet taped to the back of the seat. As we learned, every fan in the stadium was issued a bracelet with instructions to put it on before the halftime show and hold our hand up. The halftime show, which featured singers Shakira Ripoli and Jenifer Lopez, turned out to be much more than a musical event.

Super_Bowl_LIV_halftime_lights_01

Super_Bowl_LIV_halftime_lights_02

Super_Bowl_LIV_halftime_lights_03

The show was a technological tour de force, where each of the 62,000 bracelet lights were remotely controlled to give the audience a spectacular, ever-changing light show. In addition to the bracelet lights, fireworks were fired skyward throughout the show. While I confess the musical aspect of the halftime show was not especially interesting to me and I was disappointed in the not-exactly-family-friendly, hyper-sexualized dress and movements of the star singers, I was fascinated by the innovative use of technology that kept the audience aware of the always changing environment. When I got home and saw the halftime show on television, I realized just how unique our view of the action was.

Super_Bowl_LIV_confetti_beginning

After halftime, the game resumed. The 49ers seemed to be in control of the game, scoring 10 unanswered points after halftime, but in the middle of the fourth quarter, the Chiefs became a different team. They quickly scored 21 unanswered points and won Super Bowl LIV handily, 31-20. The game was exciting and very interesting, and kudos to the Chiefs for continuing to fight even when it looked like they were poised to lose. As soon as the game was over, confetti in Kansas City Chiefs colors was shot over the field from confetti cannons. Look in the bottom left/center of the photo above to see the moment the confetti began.

Super_Bowl_LIV_trophy_ceremony

Then followed the presentation of the Vince Lombardi trophy to the Chiefs (photo above), and the Most Valuable Player trophy to Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

Super Bowl LIV was history, a game that was more than worthy of concluding the year-long celebration of the 100th season of the National Football League.

Hard_Rock_Stadium_after_Super_Bowl_LIV

As we left Hard Rock Stadium to return to our bus to take us back to the Biltmore Hotel, Chad and I turned around for one more look at the Stadium. It was beautifully lit on a beautiful night, palm trees moving in a gentle breeze. It seemed like the ideal end to a weekend to remember. Given all that we received from the Chicago Bears and the NFL, it’s difficult to find words that are adequate to express our gratitude. What started with writing a 100 word essay and entering a contest culminated in a trip of a lifetime. Thank you, Chicago Bears. Thank you, McCaskey family. And thank you, National Football League. Because of all of you, Chad and I were a part of football history last weekend, and that is something for which we are very, very grateful.

Oh, and. . .

Go_Bears

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A great commercial – Super Bowl LIV

A great commercial – Super Bowl LIV

The annual National Football League Super Bowl has a world-wide television audience of millions of people. Over the years, its commercials have been highly anticipated. Some have been memorable, most are just silly or worse. A 60 second commercial during the broadcast of this year’s Super Bowl (on February 2) will cost about $10 million dollars. Ten. Million. Dollars. That’s a lot of money, no matter who’s paying it.

In recent years, some companies have been leaking their Super Bowl commercial a few days before the big game, to heighten anticipation. Already I have seen a great commercial, one that made me smile and laugh out loud. I’ve watched it a dozen times and I’m not done with it. It’s a commercial for the new Hyundai Sonata, with its “smart park” feature. Although in the ad, which is shot in New England with actors who feature a distinctive Boston accent, it’s called, “Smaht pahk.”

The ad is clever, and uses a number of celebrity actors, including Rachel Dratch (who graduated from Lexington High School where my daughters also graduated; she was the graduation speaker for our youngest daughter’s’ graduation ceremony), Chris Evans, and John Krasinski. And beloved former Red Sox slugger, David “Big Papi” Ortiz. It really brings back memories of our three decades living in Boston, when I was a member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

I have to say, this ad really tickles my funny bone. I know people who talk like this. People really do talk like this. They really do! And the ad is so full of inside Boston/New England lingo and references (like “Wicked car, is that new?”). And unlike so many Super Bowl ads, this ad actually features the product—not a foregone conclusion when ad makers often try to be so clever that the viewer has difficulty remembering what actually was being pitched in the ad. Have a look.

There’s also a great article on boston.com that gives more inside information about the ad and its actors. Click here to read it.

And if you want more, here’s a terrific short video of Rachel Dratch giving David Ortiz a dialect lesson so he can say his lines with the Boston accent. It’s hilarious. No, Ortiz, who is from the Dominican Republic, does NOT have a hard Boston accent. But he tried. Check out this sort video of Dratch as Ortiz’s dialect coach.

As I’ve written about earlier on The Last Trombone, I will be attending Super Bowl LIV in Miami this weekend with my son-in-law, Chad, courtesy of the Chicago Bears. So I won’t get to see the Super Bowl commercials as they air during the game (no complaints!). But I’ll be watching the game again on TV when I get home, and I hope the commercials are better than they were last year (my wife and I thought that most of them were really terrible—many others agreed). But I have to say, I’d be very surprised if there’s a better ad this year than “Smaht pahk” for the Hyundai Sonata. Well done Hyundai!

Do good. Help a widow.

Do good. Help a widow.

As the page is turned to a new year, from 2019 to 2020, we all do well to reflect upon and remember those who helped us in the past. Sometimes that reflection leads to action, and I hope this blog post might encourage others to follow in the steps of many others who are working today to help a person in need.

Most trombonists are aware of the pioneering work of Orla Edward Thayer, who, in 1977, invented the Thayer axial-flow valve. Ed’s invention was hugely influential in the trombone marketplace and it set off a rush of innovative design of valves by a host of manufacturers which resulted in significant improvements to trombones.

Ed’s valve was first patented in 1978 with a cylindrical valve design. In 1985, he was issued another patent with the well-known cone valve design that is still in use today.

[Above: drawings from Ed Thayer’s 1978 and 1985 patents for his axial-flow valve.]

I was an early adopter of Ed Thayer’s valve. When I was a member of the Baltimore Symphony (1981-1985), I contacted Ed and asked him to add his valve to my Bach bass trombone. This he did, with bass trombone valve number B-6, from the very first group of bass trombone valves he ever made. I endorsed his valve for several years and it was on that single valve trombone with Ed Thayer’s valve that I won the bass trombone position in the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1985.

Oliin_Carlson_Yeo_March_1985

My colleagues in the Baltimore Symphony, Jim Olin (co-principal), Eric Carlson (second) and I all used axial-flow valve equipped trombones—we became one of the first trombone sections to use trombones with Ed’s valve. The photo above shows Jim, Eric, and me in March, 1985.

Ed Thayer was a superb inventor. More than that, he was a decent, honorable, kind person, and I and many others have always said the same about his wife, Barbara. I count it a privilege to have called them friends. Ed died in 2009, and while the valve he invented changed the face of trombone design, he was not the most savvy businessman. Several unfortunate circumstances surrounding the patent and production of the axial-flow valve drained Ed and Barbara of their financial resources and they were forced to live on Social Security alone. Barbara, now 94 years old, is living month to month.

Ken Novotny has established a gofundme page to help Barbara Thayer pay down her existing debt and help her with a long-term housing solution. This is an admirable project that has already generated many donations from generous donors. But there is a long way to go to the goal of $11,945.

As I was reading my Bible this morning, the following words jumped off the page:

Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.

These words are from Isaiah 1:16-17. It was shortly after reading these words that I received an email from my friend, Marcel Schot, a trombonist in The Netherlands, letting me know about Barbara Thayer’s plight and this effort to help her. As a result, my wife and I have just made a donation to the Help Barbara Thayer gofundme page.

Would you consider doing the same? I don’t think there is any better way to start the new year than to help a widow. Barbara Thayer is deserving of our help, and doing so also honors the legacy of her late husband, Ed. Click the gofundme icon below to be directed to the “Help Barbara Thayer, Widow of Edward Thayer” page. Do a good thing, and “plead the widow’s cause.” Thank you for your consideration.

gofundme

Don’t boo your team.

Don’t boo your team.

Recently, the subject of booing at sporting events — National Football League games in particular — has been in the news. Last weekend, fans of the new England Patriots — a team that has won SIX SUPER BOWL TROPHIES since 2002, is currently in first place in its division, and currently has the second best record in its conference — booed during and after the team’s loss against the Kansas City Chiefs. The headline in the New York Post read:

Tom Brady, New England Patriots,

booed off field by their own fans

during Chiefs game

Patriots linebacker Klye Van Noy told NBCSportsBoston.com that booing the team was “disrespectful.”

In October, Deadspin featured this headline about the Chicago Bears:

Bears Fans Boo Team Off the Field 

After Offense Freezes at the Goal Line

Bears safety Eddie Jackson called booing by fans “unacceptable.” 

So which is it? To boo, or not to boo.

My wife and I have season tickets to Chicago Bears football. We don’t boo our team if it isn’t playing well. Here’s why.

Sports fans are passionate. I get that. I’m passionate about the Bears. Fans invest a lot in supporting a team, especially if one is a season ticket holder. Game tickets, parking, food, team gear, to say nothing about the time spent — it’s a real commitment. There’s real money involved. We all want our team to win. It’s easy to cheer when the team wins. When the team wins, we stand around the water cooler at work and talk about the game, saying, “We won!”

Bears_1985_Ditka

Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka being carried off the field after the Bears won Super Bowl XX (January 1986).

But when the team loses? It’s always, “They lost.”

Bears_Parkey_2029

Chicago Bears kicker Cody Parkey after missing what would have been the game winning field goal in the first round of the NFL playoffs (January 2019).

Winning feels good. Losing doesn’t feel good. But when your team is having a rough time — some poorly executed plays, a losing streak of a few games, or even a few years — I don’t think booing is the right response.

Think about it: When you‘re having a rough patch, when things aren’t going well for you, what kind of response do you like to get from your boss, your family, your friends? It’s easy for them to pat you on the back and say “attaboy!” or “attagirl!” when everything’s coming up roses. But when you’re going through a rough patch? You’d appreciate some encouragement. You’d appreciate people coming alongside you and letting you know that they are still with you. That they’ll keep supporting you. That they’ll pray for you. That they’ll be there for you. That’s sure what I’d like from friends when I’m in trouble. Those that beat up on me when I’m down —or just disappear — show that they were never really friends in the first place.

The Bible reminds us of this. Proverbs 17:17 says:

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.

Friends should love you at all times. But a brother (or a sister)? He’s/She’s there for you especially when things are not going well. I think that’s what real fans are — people who cheer for a team when things are going well and those who stand by it when it’s going through tough times. Don’t support the team when it’s down (like when the Bears had a four game losing streak earlier this season)? Then don’t jump back on the bandwagon when things go well (the Bears have won their last three games). We go through this together. We won. We lost. Boo the team when it’s down? Nope. You’ve probably heard the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12):

Do to others as you want them to do to you.

I love it when my team wins. But when they don’t win, or don’t play well, I’m also aware that the players feel it even more deeply than I do. They want to win ever more than I want them to win. They know when they didn’t perform well before I even noticed. Their livelihood is on the line. If they don’t perform well, they could get cut from the team. Theirs is a far greater investment in the team than what I put into the team.

So, I don’t boo my team. I may throw up my hands in frustration, put my head in my hands and shake it back and forth. But instead of booing, I’ll shout words of encouragement. Exhort the players to make a play, to make a stand, to do better. Pray for them. I never leave the stadium before the last play, win or lose. I want the team to know I’m a fan, a friend, a brother.

Don’t boo your team. Unless you love to be booed when you’re not doing well. Live the Golden Rule.

Bears_family_sign_01 copy

 

 

 

 

100 words – Super Bowl LIV

100 words – Super Bowl LIV

During my lifetime, I have penned hundreds of thousands of words. Books, book chapters, articles, dictionary entries, reviews—these have all been a part of my creative activity for five decades. I love words; I love putting them together, crafting sentences full of evocative meaning. Sometimes this means I use a lot of them. My wife, Patricia, when I begin a conversation with an extensive backstory, often (but lovingly) invokes the words Abigail Adams apparently said to her husband, “John. Do you always have to start at Genesis?”

So, when I recently entered a contest that required a 100 (or fewer) word  essay and those 100 words won the contest, I shook my head in amazement. 100 words? For the biggest contest prize I have ever received? I often say that I have trouble saying “hello” in fewer than five thousand words. But 100 words? And I won? How did this happen? Well, to start at Genesis. . .

Pat and I love football. We had season tickets to Arizona State University Sun Devil Football when I was ASU’s trombone professor from 2012-2016. School spirit was a big thing and we loved those years when we followed college football. But our primary football interest is the National Football League. From our years living in Boston where we attended many New England Patriots games (although we were not season ticket holders—I attended many games when the Boston Symphony brass section played the national anthem) to our six years in Arizona where we had season tickets to see the Arizona Cardinals, we have always felt that we should be “all in” with the teams that play near where we live.

Chad_Doug_Oct_2018_Bears_Jets

Photo above: Chad and Doug at Soldier Field, Chicago Bears vs. New York Jets, October 28, 2018.

When we moved to Illinois in 2018 (to live closer to our two grandchildren), I knew I wanted to take my son-in-law, Chad, to a Chicago Bears game. The NFL season had already started by the time we moved to Illinois and we were immersed in unpacking and getting our life together. Season tickets to the Chicago Bears were not in the front of my mind at that moment in time. But I knew that Chad had loved the Bears since he was a young boy and I wanted to go to a game with him. So I purchased tickets to a Chicago Bears/New York Jets game last October at Soldier Field in Chicago and as you can see from the look on Chad’s face above, we had a great time.

Doug_Pat_Bears_2019_09_29

Photo above: Doug and Pat at Soldier Field, Chicago Bears vs. Minnesota Vikings, September 29, 2019.

Actually, we had a REALLY great time. So much so that the next week, Pat and I decided to  purchase Chicago Bears football season tickets. We have great seats on the 50 yard line, and going to Bears games (we share the tickets with Chad and our daughter Linda—grandma and grandpa stay at home to watch the game with our grandkids) has become a big part of the life of the part of our family that lives in the Chicago area. Doug and Pat; Linda and Chad; Doug and Chad all going to games—fun times.

Doug_and_Chad_Bears_02

Photo above: Chad and Doug at Soldier Field, Chicago Bears vs. Los Angeles Rams, December 9, 2018.

When Chad and I go to a Chicago Bears game, we want to experience everything. Every moment of our time there is meaningful. Watching pregame warmups, having food in the United Club, walking through Soldier Field’s historic colonnade, singing the national anthem, singing “Bear Down, Chicago Bears” when the team scores, watching the players congratulate each other at midfield after the game. We are never in a hurry to leave Soldier Field. It’s a special place where special things happen for our family.

Doug_Pat_Halas_statue_Bears_2019

Photo above: Doug and Pat in front of the newly unveiled statue of Bears founder George S. Halas at Soldier Field, October 27, 2019.

Flowing from going to Chicago Bears games are all manner of other activities that bring us closer to what the team is all about. The Bears are a founding franchise of the NFL; the team’s first coach and owner, George Halas, is considered to be the driving force in the founding of the league in 1920.

Chad_Doug_orange_carpet_Bears_2029

Photo above: Chad (in orange # 23 Devin Hester Jersey) and Doug (in blue #50 Mike Singletary jersey) at the orange carpet at the Bears100 celebration, June 7, 2019. 

This year, the NFL and the Bears are both celebrating their 100th anniversary, and Chad and I went to the Bears100 celebration in June of this year. What a weekend it was! We even were able to be part of a select group of fans to be there when team members past and present—including many Hall of Fame Players—”walked the orange carpet” before the Bears100 opening ceremony. Yup, we’re Superfans.

Bears_Super_Bowl_contest_2019

As a season ticket holder, I receive emails with team news from the Bears every week. This fall, I received an email from the Bears announcing a contest. The Bears would send two people to Super Bowl LIV in Miami all expenses paid. Two tickets to the game on February 2, 2020, round trip plane fare, three nights in a Miami area hotel, and more. How to win? You had to write a 100 word essay.

Chad_1989_cropped

Photo above: Chad repping the Bears in 1989, age 9.

If you don’t enter you can’t win. But of course, when you enter a contest with a big prize, you know the odds of winning are very, very slim. However, this contest was more than just a random drawing for a winner. There was a task to do, an essay to write. There was no question that I would write the essay about Chad. His love for the Bears and football is passionate. And I thought that HIS story might be interesting to the Bears. Here’s what I wrote; who I would like to take to Super Bowl LIV:

My son-in-law, Chad, a Chaplain for Seasons Hospice, Pastor of Care Ministries at Trinity Lutheran Church in Lisle, and a passionate Bears fan since childhood. Chad could not play sports as a child; a rare medical condition kept him off playing fields. But he loved the game, and the Bears were a lifeline for him when life threw hard knocks his way. For Chad, the NFL exemplifies perseverance, excellence, the ability to pick oneself up when down, sportsmanship, teamwork. To go to Miami wearing Bears jerseys to celebrate the best of the NFL with Chad would be an unmeasurable joy.

And I sent in my entry. 100 words.

Doug_and_Chad_Bears_04

Photo above: Doug and Chad at Soldier Field, Chicago Bears vs. Detroit Lions, November 10, 2019.

In the meantime, the Bears season rolled on. Football parties with family and friends when the Bears were playing teams away from home. More games at Soldier Field. Then, last week, my phone rang. On the other end of the line was George McCaskey, Chairman of the Bears. He’s a son of Bears owner Virginia Halas McCaskey—she is the daughter of George Halas—and the McCaskey family are spectacular stewards of the Chicago Bears. After a little small talk, Mr. McCaskey asked me what I was doing on February 2. I went to my calendar on my phone and it showed two events. Groundhog Day. And Super Bowl LIV. And then he said words I would never forget, “The Bears would like to send you and Chad to the Super Bowl.”

What!?

I wrote 100 words and Chad and I were going to the Super Bowl. The Bears liked my entry and Mr. McCaskey told me that they noted that my essay was exactly 100 words long. Gotta follow the rules! The Bears received thousands of entries to the contest. The odds of winning were very small. But here we are, going to the Super Bowl thanks to the Chicago Bears. Wow.

Yeo_Leonard_Bears_SBLIV_contest reveal_02_crop

So, we got together at Linda and Chad’s house to tell them the good news. Standing in front of a wall in Chad’s office which is decked out in Bears colors (photo above), we surprised him. When I handed Chad the Super Bowl LIV ticket invitations the Bears had sent to me, well, it was a very special moment for all of us.

I don’t have adequate words to express our thanks to the Chicago Bears organization, to the McCaskey family, and to all of those at the Bears who do so much to make our game day and year-round Chicago Bears experience so meaningful (including our season ticket representative, Dillon Knight, who has helped us in ways large and small and who is always attentive to our thoughts, suggestions, and so much more). Here in the 100th anniversary season of the National Football League, Chad and I will be going to the big game. While we would love to see our Bears on the field in Miami (the Bears have had a challenging season this year but there is still hope!), we look forward to celebrating this game that will feature the very best teams in the NFL in what will be an unforgettable experience.

100 words. Sometimes you don’t have to start at Genesis.

Thank you, Chicago Bears! And, Go Bears!

Bears_bobbleheads_2019.jpg

Photo above: Limited edition bobbleheads given away free to fans who attend Chicago Bears home games at Soldier Field during the 2019 season, to celebrate the Bears’ 100th anniversary season. Left to right: George S. Halas (only given to season ticket holders), Red Grange, Bronko Nagurski, Sid Luckman, Bill George, Gale Sayers and Dick Butkas, Walter Payton, Mike Ditka, Brian Urlacher, Khalil Mack (only given to season ticket holders). Mike Singletary and Devin Hester will be given to fans at the last two home games later this month).

 

 

 

Coming back home: Teaching trombone at Wheaton College

Coming back home: Teaching trombone at Wheaton College

They say you can’t go back. But I just did. In a circle of my life spanning 45 years, I’ve just gone back home. Just a few weeks ago, I was appointed the trombone teacher at my undergraduate alma mater, Wheaton College (Illinois). In a big sense, I feel like I’ve come home, returning to a place that dramatically shaped me even as I now have the opportunity to shape the lives of others.

Yeo_Wheaton_College_1975

[That’s me, warming up before a concert in Wheaton College’s Edman Chapel, spring 1975. This photo appeared in the 1975 edition of Tower, Wheaton College’s annual yearbook.]

It was while I was a student at Wheaton College that I studied trombone with Edward Kleinhammer, then bass trombonist of the Chicago Symphony, and started on my road to become an orchestral bass trombonist, a road that led me to the Boston Symphony Orchestra (1985-2012) and many other remarkable places.

Kleinhammer_Yeo_1976

[Edward Kleinhammer and me at my last lesson with him in his studio in the Fine Arts Building, Chicago, May 1976.]

It was while I was a student at Wheaton College that I met Dr. Harold Best—then the Dean of the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music and author of the remarkable book, Music Through the Eyes of Faithand began an abiding and life-changing relationship with a man who began as my advisor, became my mentor, and is now one of my closest friends.

Douglas_Yeo_Harold_Best_sm.jpg

[Dr. Harold Best and me, at his home in Idaho, 2014.]

It was while I was a student at Wheaton College where, two weeks after the most wonderful girl in the world and I got married, we set up our first home. After 44 years of marriage, I thank God that she’s still that girl.

Yeo_wedding_1975

[August 31, 1975]

Travis_Yeo_wedding_announcement

It was while I was a student at Wheaton College where I memorized all of the verses to Martin Luther’s great hymn, A Mighty Fortress is Our God (for extra credit on an exam), and since that time, I have recalled it every day of my life, especially its second verse:

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;

Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing.

Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;

Lord Sabaoth His name, from age to age the same, and he must win the battle.

And it was at Wheaton College where our two daughters attended and graduated with degrees in music.

We all have hopes and dreams. One of mine, held for the last 45 years, has been that God might allow me to return to Wheaton College some day to serve on its faculty, and repay some of what that remarkable place gave to my family and me. Last month, that dream—that prayer—was answered most unexpectedly, when Dr. Michael Wilder, Dean of the Conservatory of Music and Division of Arts and Communication at Wheaton College, asked me to join Wheaton College’s faculty as its trombone teacher. It all happened so quickly, so remarkably, and after a time of prayer and consideration, I accepted.

In announcing my appointment, Dean Wilder said,

“We are delighted to welcome Douglas Yeo to the music faculty of the Conservatory of Music at Wheaton College. He brings an amazing life of experience as a performer, teacher, and thought leader in matters of artistry, faith, and creativity. A very few minutes with Douglas Yeo will pull any person into a whirlwind of ideas and inspiration and we are looking forward to all that he will accomplish at Wheaton College, as he invests in the lives of students, colleagues, alumni, and friends.”

I pray that I might live up to those words.

The fall 2019 semester is now half over, and my students and I are on fall break, a few days of refreshment before we head back to school for more trombone lessons, more trombone studio classes, more concerts, recitals, juries, and our ongoing exploration of music and music making.

Yeo_office_sign

So it is that on Tuesdays, you find me teaching lessons in room 022 of Wheaton College’s brand new (just two years old), state-of-the-art Armerding Center for Music and the Arts. It’s a teaching studio I share with four other Wheaton College faculty, a place where my students and I contend to be better stewards of the talents that God has given to us. On Fridays, I’m in the Armerding Center’s room 141, a spectacular “smart classroom” where we hold our weekly trombone studio class and engage in playing trombone ensembles and solos, listening to music, watching presentations, and much more.

Yeo_WC_piano_dedication_04_sm

[Armerding Center for the Performing Arts, Room 141.]

Next fall, Wheaton College will open a new 648 seat concert hall (this new hall is in addition to the Conservatory’s 101 seat recital hall and the 2400 seat Edman Memorial Chapel), making its music facilities second to none. My wife and I have been blessed to be able contribute to help with the construction and outfitting of these new music buildings and we’d like to encourage others who believe in the mission and work of Wheaton College to support the effort to complete the building of the Concert Hall. Click HERE to read a story about why we are helping with this and learn how you can join us and help as well.

Now, we are already beginning to make plans for the 2020-21 school year. Auditions will take place in the next several months—the deadline to apply for fall 2020 admission is January 10—and I am praying now for the group of students who will be part of the Wheaton College trombone studio next year. If you’re interested in studying trombone with me and attending an outstanding liberal arts college (which has a Conservatory of Music that has a superb undergraduate music curriculum that leads to a bachelor of arts, bachelor of music, or bachelor of music education degree; Wheaton also offers a minor in music), a college that has at its core the commitment to “Christ and His Kingdom,” a place that has high and rigorous academic standards in which students grow and learn to be good stewards of the talents God has given them, and a place that Forbes has recently named one of America’s Top Colleges, I’d like to encourage you to apply for admission. The Wheaton College Conservatory of Music website has details about everything you’d want to know about the study of music at Wheaton: a look at our facilities, biographies of all of our outstanding faculty, videos of large ensemble performances, and much more. You can also get details about how to apply to the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music by clicking HERE. The Conservatory’s mission statement stakes out our commitment to our students:

The Conservatory seeks to bring each of its students to an intellectual understanding of the theoretical, historical, and stylistic aspects of musical practice; to relate each of these to the vast literature of music; and to demand the highest level possible of technical and artistic achievement in performance, composition, and teaching. Most importantly the Conservatory seeks to undertake this task in the light of a biblical perspective which describes the making of music as an act of worship and service, calls for excellence as the norm of stewardship, and relates all of human creativity to the Creatorhood of God.

For more information about trombone study at Wheaton College, go to my bio page on the Wheaton College Conservatory website and click on the tab that says Faith and Learning. There you will find my underlying core philosophy of teaching, and the fundamentals of what it is that we work to do in Armerding Room 022 and 114, across campus, and even to the ends of the earth.

And if you are entering grades 9-12 in the fall of 2020 and are looking for an engaging, one-week long summer music program, I’d like you to know that I will be teaching at Wheaton College’s summer music camp, to be held next summer from June 21-28. This is an ideal way to explore music at Wheaton; for information, click HERE.

I’m back home again, at Wheaton College. If God leads you home there, too, I look forward to seeing you.

Print

 

 

From Texas to Japan – help the Univ. of Texas Trombone Choir get there in 2020

From Texas to Japan – help the Univ. of Texas Trombone Choir get there in 2020

For many years, I have enjoyed a close relationship with the University of Texas (Austin) trombone studio, and its Professor, Dr. Nathaniel Brickens. Nat is one of the most highly-respected trombone teachers in the world, a former president of the International Trombone Association, and a superb player and – most of all – one of the nicest people I know. I have been fortunate to have travelled to UT several times to give masterclasses, perform as soloist with the UT trombone choir, and conduct the choir and large groups of trombonists that came to campus. The photo below shows me conducting a massed choir at UT last year with the UT trombone choir and trombonists from local universities and high schools. That took place during the most recent of my trips to Austin. We were performing Simon Wills’ Tinguely’s Fountain. As you can see, everything is BIG in Texas!

YEO_UT_2018

The UT Trombone Choir has been invited to perform at the 2020 International Trombone Festival that will be held in July in Osaka, Japan. This is a huge honor for this group, which is one of the finest collegiate trombone choirs in the world. As one who has been to Japan to teach and perform fifteen times over the years (most recently just a few weeks ago), I know first hand how valuable this trip will be for the UT trombone students who will be visiting Japan for the first time. It is a tremendous opportunity to put this fine group center-stage at the premier trombone event for 2020 – which is also the year of the Summer Olympic Games in Japan. This kind of cross-cultural musical experience will be invaluable both for the UT trombone students, but for those attending the International Trombone Festival, many of whom will be from Asia.

I’d like to ask you to consider contributing financially to help make this trip happen. As you can imagine, it takes not only a huge amount of organizing to get the UT trombone choir to Japan, but a lot of money as well. The trombone choir has started a HornRaiser program, UT’s crowdfunding platform. Click

HERE

to visit the University of Texas trombone choir HornRaiser page.

UT_Trombone_Choir.jpg

Once there, you can view a video that describes their planned trip to Japan, and have the opportunity to join others in supporting the UT trombone choir as they prepare to represent UT, Texas, and the United States at the International Trombone Festival in Japan. My wife and I have just contributed $500 towards this, and while no contribution is too small – every dollar helps and your donation is fully tax deductible – I’d like to urge you to give generously to help these fine students. Donations are accepted by credit card so anyone in the world can help in this effort. This fund raising program just started and continues for a few more days. Please help these students spread their great music making to Japan.

Thanks so much for your help. And, as they say at University of Texas,

HOOK ‘EM!

DY BEVO