Rev. Geoff Andress – Uncle and Teacher
Although Geoff Andress is my uncle, he is also one of the first private trumpet teachers I ever had. I usually don’t think to include him on my “Past Teachers List” because the lessons he gave me were during a vacation. My sister and I went to Vermont to visit my aunt and uncle one summer and Geoff gave me lessons while we were visiting.
Uncle Geoff is much better at telling stories than I am, so I will simply copy and paste what he wrote a few years ago about those lessons:
In 1974 I gave a very young Eddie Lewis a trumpet lesson on our Vermont home’s back porch. “Put some air through this horn and make that sound bounce back at us from the hill across the valley,” I said. With an unbelievably rich tone he did just that, and he hasn’t stopped since. As both a performing music and a public school educator I’ve been privileged to have worked with Tiger several times over the years that followed.
To read the rest of what he wrote please feel free to visit the Kudos page at EddieLewis.com.
I remember that lesson well. The back of the house faced the valley. There was a yard with a pond in it. Beyond the pond was the stream. I remember Uncle Geoff running down hill, across the yard, towards the stream, saying “play it again!” The farther away he went, the more natural it felt to fill the horn the way he was asking. It worked!
My First Arban Book
A few years after that vacation, uncle Geoff came to visit us in Hawaii. He brought with him an Arban book which he gave to me as a gift. It was my first copy of the trumpet world’s most popular book. I worked out of that copy of the book for twenty years before I wore it out so badly that it needed to be replaced.
Whenever we were together on vacations, I always used to pester my uncle with questions. I remember very fondly the time he said something like, “give me a break kid. I’m on vacation here. Music is what I do for work.” Ha! I know I was probably a pest, but that didn’t stop me from asking him more questions. If anything, he made me want to ask more because he established that he was a pro, that music was serious business. I think I needed that at that point in my development.
So Uncle Geoff did help me from the Arban book while he was with us in Hawaii. I don’t remember much in the way of details, because that was almost forty years ago.
Other Vacations to Vermont
I also remember other trips to Vermont when we got to see uncle Geoff’s school band march in a parade. I remember eating a whole half of a chicken at the end of the parade. I remember climbing to the top of one of the mountains and throwing paper airplanes. Those were great times and I have always had fond memories of our time in Vermont.
This life builders series is a way for me to acknowledge the people who contributed to my success in life. The series finds its roots in 1 Cor. 13 where it says that “love isn’t proud.” One way we practice being “not proud” is by acknowledging the contributions that God and other people have made into our lives. When we excel, we should recognize those who helped us to get where we are. That’s part of what it means to love.
So this is an ongoing series. There are so many people who have contributed to my personal success that I probably will never be able to acknowledge all of them this way. But that won’t stop me from trying.
Rivers of Life CD
I actually wrote this post over a year ago. It’s funny because I thought I was waiting until I could find the picture of us on top of the Pinnacle in Vermont. That is my favorite picture of my uncle. My pictures have been a mess lately and I just couldn’t find it. So I kept waiting until I had the time to look for it.
Between the time that I wrote this post and now, Uncle Geoff moved to North Texas. Since I have a big band gig in Dallas over the weekend, I thought it would be a good idea for us to do a recording together.
Uncle Geoff and I have not spent much time playing music together since I became a pro, mostly because we’ve lived so far away from each other. So now is a wonderful opportunity for us to collaborate on a project.
I have setup a Kickstarter campaign for the CD project. You can be an important part of this project by visiting that page and pledging your support. Just click on the following link and it will take you to a page where you can do that.