'84 Olympics Herald Trumpets

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by HinoteKU, Jul 3, 2008.

  1. HinoteKU

    HinoteKU New Friend

    Jan 23, 2007
    I've read elsewhere on the internet that there were 98 herald trumpets playing the John Williams Olympic Theme in '84. Does anyone out there know who they (or at least some of them) were, or can someone who knows better correct my (possibly) disinformation?
  2. gchun

    gchun Piano User

    Dec 10, 2003
    The rumors I heard:

    The original plan was to use college students for the herald trumpets. They couldn't get enough so they used non-students.

    2 herald trumpet players were sent out to each individual competition.

    The opening ceremonies professional orchestra seen in the end zone was pre-recorded.

    Any confirmations?

  3. ddevaney

    ddevaney New Friend

    Aug 8, 2008
    In February of '85, in response to a mailing to their customers, I purchased a Blessing Model B-175 herald trumpet from Taylor Music in Aberdeen, South Dakota. Included with the instrument was a message, on E.K. Blessing Co. letterhead and signed by the president - Merle O. Johnson, that reads:
    Official serial number listing of 126 Blessing B-175 Artist Herald Trumpets sent to Los Angeles, California for the XXIIIrd Olympic Games opening ceremonies held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. (a list of 126 six digit numbers follows)
    The bell of the trumpet is engraved “1984†with the Olympic rings below and followed by the model and company info. Olympic banners that hang from the instruments were included. Sorry for the long wait for a response but the upcoming ‘08 games inspired a web search about the instrument and I just discovered the site. Hope this is of interest to other brass players out there. I would greatly appreciate any other information regarding the details of this event. The recollections of any participants would certainly be of special interest.
  4. mattc

    mattc Pianissimo User

    Dec 12, 2009
    Sorry to open an old thread, but I just saw this.

    I played in the fanfare trumpets for the '84 Olympics.

    There were about 100 of us there, a mix of students and a few pros. They did get Blessing trumpets for the group. I have one in my closet now, complete with "Stars in Motion" flag.

    We played the John Williams fanfare, and we also played the "Fanfare for the Common Man" together with the marching band. The Band was largely USC and UCLA marching band members, with others from all over the LA area. I think there were something like 600 band members. It was an amazing sound.

    As an aside, there was a great "Hi Mom" moment in the Fanfare for the Common Man. (Hi Mom's were my band director's way of referring to very obvious mistakes on the field). One trumpet came in about a measure early.

    From what I recall, the stamp on the bell was due to some lobbying by a guy from Anaheim Band Instruments. He talked to the Blessing guys who said they would signify which horns were used in the Olympics. The ABI guy said something like, "You do mean you will stamp the bell, not just put a decal on there, right?"

    The stamps were added after the event.

    The Army Herald trumpets were there too as President Regan was present for the Opening Ceremonies. Those guys were amazing.

    There was a power glitch in the opening ceremonies. If you recall or see a video, they had a number of balloons that were released. These were BIG, as in 5-10 feet in diameter. One set was copper colored, and rumor has it one came down in the local power lines.

    They also had 88 piano players doing "Rhapsody in Blue".

    They had a lot of pyrotechnics set up. Much of this consisted of what looks like buckets of coarse sand. They had to remind us a number of times, "Those are NOT ashtrays!" Not that many trumpet players were smokers.

    Small groups from the Band and Fanfare Trumpets were sent out to the venues for awards ceremonies. The fanfare trumpets were in groups of six, as I recall. 2 firsts, 2 seconds, 2 thirds. I played for Archery and Fencing (Don't leave a horn near the "Swiss Timing" folks equipment, they are not very resepctful...my horn has the scratches to prove it).

    The fanfare ends on a high "D" (in the firsts). I don't think it comes through in the recording, but there were a number of people taking the octave up.

    We got to keep the uniforms (all Olympic volunteers did), down to the blue painted Converse sneakers (Converse supplied shoes for the Olympics). I remember during the fitting when they tried to make them rather tight. Many of the trumpet players said, "No way, take the measurements when I take a big breath".

    I also worked on security during the Olympics. It was a hectic couple of weeks.
  5. larry tscharner

    larry tscharner Forte User

    Apr 30, 2010
    dubuque iowa
    Interesting history behind the story mattc. Thank you!
  6. Phillydawg

    Phillydawg New Friend

    Jul 14, 2009
    Hi...I TOO....was in this unit. It was a mix of playing levels because the LAOOC couldn't muster 126 high school and college students fast enough so everybody/anybody was welcome,etc. Was kind of frustrating a little cuz there were young players on lead who couldn't hit the high D to save their life and pros put on 6th, heh. There were 126 horns made and shipped to the LAOOC but we only mustered 98 trumpeters and we had 10 kettle drummers. Not all the trumpeters were even trumpet players. A few of the lower parts had french horn players and sax players,etc.

    I was the one who typed up the letter to the guys of the unit who wanted to purchase their horns. The "lobbying" had to do with after we were discouraged to buy our horns by "a guy partially in charge" because he said they were expensive and all "pre-sold" anyway, ABI did some checking with the president of Blessing, who the owner had met at the previous NAMM show,etc. Turned out that only 28 were really "pre-sold" and that since the owner of ABI was also a player in the unit and owned a solid music store, Blessing decided to make him the main distributor of the horns nationally, and we shipped the Blessing president his 28 presold horns,etc. Therefore again, I was charged with writing up a letter to the guys in the unit that they could purchase their horn and banner for wholesale cost plus $25 to have the bell stamped with the olympic rings and 1984. The "dye" for this stamp was shipped to ABI from Blessing with their "blessings". :) A week after the event you couldn't hardly walk through the shop as the floor was covered in trumpet bells being ready for stampage. I also helped sell 4 of the spare horns at Olympic trading shows that were going on at the time, my commissions which helped to pay for MY horn,etc. Rumour had it that we were discouraged from buying them at first because that person had alledged "plans" to have "another unit" outfitted with a set plus another set to sell to Neman-Marcus to weild a personal profit. Unfortunately for him he had to get his horns through ABI like everybody else. I can't remember if he followed through with buying 2 sets of horns or not, but at least everybody who played in the unit now had a chance of keeping their horn,etc.

    Also Garry......I do beleive the orchestra was pre-recorded but it was also THEM on the recording,heh. One could also ask Rick Baptist who was the lead trumpet in that.
  7. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

    May 11, 2009
    Yorba Linda, CA
    Very interesting "behind-the-scenes" insights. It's amazing what has to be done to pull off anything of this scale. Thanks to both Mattc and Phillydawg.
  8. codyb226

    codyb226 Banned

    Mar 9, 2011
    Florida, US
    How do you get to be in the Olympic Herald Trumpet group, that has to be a amazing thing to do. I know that you have to be amazing but the next time the Olympics will come to the U.S. will be in 2020 or 2022. The chances of me getting in are really slim, but how would you start?
  9. stevesf

    stevesf Piano User

    Jun 23, 2010
    San Francisco Bay Area
    The '84 summer games opening ceremony was one the most memorable opening ceremonies I have watched.
    This was the first time the John Williams Olympic theme was linked to Arnaud's "Buglers Dream" wasn't it?
    What sticks in my mind most was all those damn piano players playing "Rhapsody in Blue" (something like 84 of them right?)
    in the arches of LA Memorial Coliseum. :-o
  10. CHAMP

    CHAMP Piano User

    Nov 16, 2005

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