Reading Chase Hoffberger's article [Music Listings
, June 29] on the Kashmere Stage Band took me back to Houston and my days playing bass for Westbury High School from 1977-1980. It was a wonderful experience playing under the direction of Chuck Nolen – himself a monster trumpet player for such artists as Stan Kenton and Maynard Ferguson. I remember well competing against the Kashmere Band at contests throughout Texas and Louisiana, and they were very good at their game under Conrad Johnson. I do take an exception to Craig Baldwin's assertion that at contests, "We’d go out there and win every time.” I do not know what years Mr. Baldwin played but I can assure you that from the mid-Seventies to the early Eighties, the two schools to beat were either Westbury or the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, a school that recruited musicians and artists throughout the Houston area. Kashmere was known as putting on a great show (and they did), but these contests were more about jazz performance – where a premium was placed on technical proficiency and sight reading.
That being said, what is great is that Kashmere has kept it together and continues performing big-band music, and there will hopefully be a renewed interest in this great music that is as much fun to play as listen. I couldn't make it out Saturday to Antone's but will certainly catch them next time.