Interview with DeVaughn Roberts, October 19, 2018

Muhlenberg College: Trexler Library Oral History Repository
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00:00:00 - Interview Introduction

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Partial Transcript: RILEY CASSIDY: OK, so I’m Riley Cassidy here with DeVaughn Roberts. We’re going to talk about your life in the Allentown Band for our oral history project. It’s part of the Lehigh Valley Engaged Humanities Consortium. So thank you, DeVaughn, for being willing to speak with me, and could you please state your full name and your date of birth?

00:00:22 - First instrument / early interest in music

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Partial Transcript: RC: So I want to know what it was like the first time you played your instrument and how you got from there to deciding that that was something you wanted to pursue (inaudible).

DR: So I started playing trumpet when I was seven, and I was awful. Like, actually terrible.

Keywords: trumpet

00:02:07 - Joining the Allentown Band

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Partial Transcript: RC: Yeah, I get that, too. So then how did you go from that to becoming a part of the Allentown Band? How did you get started here?

DR: So I always knew the band existed. I’m from Bethlehem, so you kind of can’t avoid it. When I graduated college -- I’m a mechanical engineer -- I was worried about not having a place to play, but knowing the band existed and having interacted with Ron a couple times, I just shot him an email and said, “Hey, can I stop by and play sometime?”

Keywords: Allentown Band; Lehigh Valley

00:03:18 - Memorable moments with the Allentown Band / West Park

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Partial Transcript: RC: So in the three plus years you said that you’ve been here, I just want to know if you have any, like, particular memories that stand out, like a favorite venue you’ve played at or like a favorite person you’ve met through the band?

DR: Geez, that’s a hard one. I think my favorite venue -- this is going to be a weird one -- is West Park in Allentown. We play it all the time, but everyone who plays in the band just knows it. It’s sort of just like oh, it’s a West Park concert.

Keywords: Kaderabek, Frank; West Park; trumpet

00:04:37 - Changes in the Band

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Partial Transcript: RC: And then, so through the years that you’ve been here, have you noticed the band has changed at all since you’ve started or if it’s the same as when you got here or if things are different at all?

DR: I’ll say some of the biggest differences I’ve noticed has been just like the quality and difficulty of the music that we play nowadays. It’s gotten significantly more complicated and harder, which I think is really impressive for a community band.

Keywords: Carnegie Hall (New York, N.Y.)

00:06:15 - The future of the Band

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Partial Transcript: RC: That’s always good. And then from the point it’s at right now, I’m wondering how you see the band moving forward from this point.

DR: I think things are only going to keep getting better and more high-profile. The band very much, though, has its roots, you know, the older musicians that have been here for so long and kind of know the traditions and the traditional music and all of the old-style music stuff.

00:06:52 - Love of music / perseverance

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Partial Transcript: RC: So I just wanted to go back really quick to something you said earlier. You were talking about how you weren’t good at the trumpet at first, but you still stuck with it, and I’m wondering why that was.

DR: Part of that’s personality. I’m really bad at being bad at things. It’s just, like, frustrating to me. So it was sort of like a personal challenge. And then, like I mentioned before, some of my closer friends, especially the ones who were a couple years older than me, were really good, and that just wasn’t working for me

00:07:41 - Choosing to play the trumpet

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Partial Transcript: RC: And then I think my last question -- it’s probably going to be a little hard -- but my last question is why the trumpet specifically? Do you have a reason, or you just liked it?

DR: So ironically enough, I wanted to play a saxophone, and when I was five or six or seven, my mom was calling around asking different people about renting instruments. And the first person she called told her that the sax was too hard to start out on, and I should try something like trumpet instead.

Keywords: trumpet

00:08:21 - Traditions of the Allentown Band

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Partial Transcript: DR: I think one of the coolest things about the band -- and quite honestly, it’s something I still struggle with -- only being in the band for three and a half years, there’s so many things that are, you know, traditional. They’ve been doing this for forever.

00:09:44 - Youth outreach programs with the Allentown Band

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Partial Transcript: KR: I’ll just stand up here (inaudible). About the youth outreach program -- how do you see that going? Is there any kind of future for the outreach program expanding, growing?

DR: I can only hope that the outreach program continues to expand. I mean, I think the Valley in general is like a really musical place. There’s lots of stuff around that, so the more you can expose that to kids that can like latch on to that and realize they want to do it themselves, the better.

Subjects: Lehigh Valley; music education; youth outreach