Musician Spotlight—Meet Mike Montgomery

Mike lives in Jackson Township and works at BDI (Bearing Distributor Incorporated). He has worked in this type of business for more than 20 years. Mike also teaches at Pellegrino Music Center in Canton. He is married and has two children—Jacob, who is 14, and Isabelle, who is 12.

Mike recently answered a few questions to help us get to know him a little better:

TP: Tell us a little bit about your background and your earlier experiences as a trombonist.

Mike: I grew up in Council Grove, Kansas, and I started playing the trombone in the fifth grade. I’m not sure what exactly attracted me to it, but when I tried it, I knew very strongly that the trombone was what I wanted to play. Randall Bagby, one of my high school band directors, was very influential and really helped me light a fire to get better at the trombone. I did very well in district and state solo competition and made it to the Kansas all-state jazz band two years in a row.

I attended Kansas State University for one year, then Emporia State University for one year, and then finished my bachelor’s degree in trombone performance at Wichita State University.

When I got to Wichita State, my professor was Russ Widener, and he had the most influence on my decision to become a professional player. He was like a father figure to me. The person who really influenced my orchestral side was Ed Zadrozny, who was my teacher at the University of Akron where I studied for my masters degree in trombone performance.

I listened to a lot of symphonies in college, but I listened to the Chicago symphony the most, as they had some early recordings on vinyl that were outstanding. I have a passion for history and really like to listen to older recordings to hear differences between how it was played back then versus now. Also, I like to listen to Joe Alessi, principal of the New York Philharmonic.

TP: What brought you to Ohio

Mike: I came to Ohio in 1995 after graduating from WSU to persue a masters degree at the University of Akron.

TP: What other ensembles have you performed with?

Mike: Some groups and performers I have played with include Wichita Symphony Orchestra, Akron Symphony, American Wind Symphony Orchestra, Wichita Jazz Orchestra, Natalie Cole, Mel Torme, Mitzi Gaynor, Bob Minter, Jiggs Whigam. I have done many shows at Playhouse Square in Cleveland and local venues as well.

Last season was my first season with the Tuscarawas Philharmonic, and I am having a great time and loving every minute of it!!!! It is such a fun orchestra to play with!

TP: What are some of your other interests?

Mike: I play five-string banjo professionally as well, and I have played in a local bluegrass band for five years. I also like to play the harmonica, I am a deer hunter, and I enjoy golf.

TP: What has been your favorite aspect of playing with the Philharmonic?

Mike: All of the concerts we do are awesome to play, the most memorable to me so far is the Christmas concert we did last season and are going to do this season. The music was absolutely a joy to play, and it was an honor to be able to listen to Franc D’Ambrosio sing. He is an amazing talent! All of the music for that concert was excellent.

To me playing music is an honor and a privilege. I consider myself fortunate to be able to play with the Tuscarawas Philharmonic.

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