The Love of Music

Why the Trumpet? "The Sound Just Speaks to Me"

Article by Cheyenne Forbes

Photography by Jayne Toohey and Courtesy Calvin Price

Originally published in Media City Lifestyle

Between the smooth sounds of Harry James and the biblical story of the walls of Jericho falling, Calvin Price knew he wanted to be a trumpet player at only four years old.

“[My mother] would read to me from the Bible and whenever she got to the trumpets were blasting and they blew down the walls of Jericho, I thought, ‘Oh, man. I like that.’,” said Calvin. 

Calvin attended Oberlin College and Conservatory and was accepted in innumerable orchestral programs. It included the Boston Symphony’s summer Tanglewood program. 

His summers learning from and playing for various bands taught him well. After college, Calvin played for Paul Lavalle and the Band of America which included 19 other musicians. He described it as a big band that also played concert music. "We went as far north as almost Sioux, Sainte Marie," said Calvin. He was first trumpet on the bicentennial tour.

He spent 25 years playing first trumpet in the San Diego Symphony, 4 years playing first trumpet on tour in Italy, and more. Calvin is a frequent instrumentalist in the U.S. and has performed with Luciano Pavarotti, Barbra Streisand, Doc Severinsen, Celine Dion, Linda Ronstadt, The Backstreet Boys, and Andrea Bocelli. He was also first trumpet for John Williams, Bill Conti, and Marvin Hamlisch. Calvin has also performed for such conductors as Bernstein, Ormandy, Muti, Fruehbeck de Burgos, Leitner, Sinopoli, Schuller, Bertini, and Temirkanov.  

“There’s a composer in LA named Mark Isham,” Calvin explained. “He got my [CD and resume] and then next thing you know, I’m first trumpet for Mark Isham. So, that’s where the movies came in.”

Calvin met Doc Severinsen on a trip to New York when he was chosen to "stump the band." Doc later became a good friend and recommended Calvin’s talent to Sandy DeCrescent.

"Doc recommended me to Sandy. She controlled 95% of the film work in LA,” said Calvin. “If you are not on Sandy’s list, you did not work." Being an Eagles guy, he really enjoyed playing for Invincible. In the final scene of the game, there's a trumpet solo – it's Calvin.

You can hear Calvin in movies such as Miracle (2004), Eight Below (2006), Men of Honor (2000), and Invincible (2006).

Want to learn to be a great trumpet player? "Take private lessons," Calvin guides. He talks with children and encourages their desire to play. “I used to have a summer program called Trumpetissimo and kids would sign up for it.” He continues to strive to provide the highest level of brass instruction to participants of all ages and levels of expertise. 

After spending 31 years in San Diego and 4 years in Europe, Calvin, who grew up in the Philadelphia area, now lives near Linvilla Orchards with his junior prom date. Reflecting on his career, Calvin said, “It’s been a crazy ride. It didn't turn out the way I scripted it in the beginning, but I think it turned out better.”

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