Fantastic Feel Good Story!

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Derek Reaban, Oct 13, 2006.

  1. Derek Reaban

    Derek Reaban Mezzo Piano User

    609
    1
    Jun 16, 2005
    Tempe, Arizona
    A friend at work forwarded this to me (not sure who the original author is but wanted to post it). What a great story!

    Trumpeting the Father of the Year

    Question: What has four wheels, four feet, two eyes and one horn?

    Answer: Trumpet position number 7 in the Louisville marching band.

    Meet Patrick Henry Hughes and his dad, Patrick John Hughes -- the only two-person marching-band member in college football.

    Patrick Henry, 18 -- born with a rare genetic disorder that left him without eyes, and with arms and legs that won't straighten -- plays the trumpet from his wheelchair. Patrick John, 45, pushes the wheelchair. You can watch them roll during the halftime show at Cardinals home games. "I was a little worried about the endurance factor at first," says band director Greg Byrne. "Not Patrick's. His dad's."

    You think it's easy pushing a 165-pound man, in full uniform, around a spongy artificial-turf field, trying to keep up with 213 other band members and get to your spot in the A in cards and the L in u of l, while not getting slammed by the person marching behind you -- all on four hours' sleep because you work the graveyard shift loading planes for UPS? You try it.

    "My job is just to get, say, to the 32 1/2-yard line at the exact right time," says the older Patrick, who doesn't wear the band uniform. "Every now and then I'll take a mellophone in the back, but mostly it's been a blast!"

    "He hasn't dumped me yet," young Patrick says, grinning.

    Dad also pushes his son to classes, sits with him and whispers anything written on the blackboard. After band practice they go home and eat dinner, then Dad goes to work at 11 p.m., gets off at 5 a.m., sleeps a little and gets up at 11 for breakfast, classes and band. If this guy isn't Father of the Year, I'm Liberace.

    Patrick John and Patricia Hughes, a sales assistant in a brokerage firm, have been going full-Patrick-ahead since he was born. "My wife and I were sort of devastated at first," the father says. "I mean, we played by all the rules. We worked hard. She didn't have any alcohol during the pregnancy. Why us?" But then they started finding out why them. Dad, a violinist and pianist, found that he could calm his baby boy by laying him on top of the piano and tickling the ivories. By nine months young Patrick was tapping keys on the piano, mimicking his dad in a listen-and-play exercise. By two years old he was playing Sesame Street songs.

    Now the kid's a killer pianist and a monster trumpet player. Even though people have tried to stop him -- like the ones at a performing-arts school in Louisville who discouraged the Hugheses from even applying -- he has done nothing but succeed. Was all-state in band and chorus at Atherton High. Had a 3.99 GPA. Sang a duet with Pam Tillis at the Grand Ole Opry. Played piano at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Put out a CD of 23 songs.

    So when he enrolled at the university, young Patrick asked to join the pep band, which guaranteed a precious seat at Cardinals basketball games. But director Byrne crossed him up. He asked him, "Why don't you join the marching band?"

    Next thing you know, the teenager and his father were at band summer camp -- 12-hour days with only 90-minute breaks for lunch and dinner. Dad pushed like crazy, and young Patrick played the theme from Superman while being whirled around in his own giddy darkness.

    It about killed Pop. "I was whipped," he says. So he took the chair to a mechanic friend, who rigged it with bigger, wider wheels. That helped them get through the triple Axel of marching-band maneuvers: the dreaded Diamond. Two battalions of marchers come at each other in full stride, intersect, reverse, then split apart again. To pull it off, Dad has to pop a wheelie, spin the chair, try not to wipe out the entire wind section, then peel off the other way. "It takes everything I've got to make sure I'm in step," the older Patrick says. "If I don't get there quick enough, or cut quick enough, I'm the lone cowboy out at the end of this thing. I don't want people to remember us as the kid in the wheelchair whose dad couldn't keep up."

    "I'm so jealous," says Byrne. "My father-son time with my dad is golf, twice a year. Patrick gets to be with his dad all the time."

    Don't you love pushy parents?

    Life with this kid just keeps getting more fun. "We still say, Why us?" says the father. "But now it's, Why us -- how'd we get so lucky?"

    I asked young Patrick what he thought his dad looked like, this man who's devoting his life to him. "Tall, skinny, muscular and bald," he said, laughing.

    Yeah, there are lots of ways to play Superman.
     
  2. Eclipsehornplayer

    Eclipsehornplayer Forte User

    2,378
    5
    Sep 14, 2005
    Metro Detroit
    If this is authentic it's one hell of a story. No eyes that means he plays totally from memory. I'm lucky if I can remember the fingerings on notes sometimes let alone libraries of whole songs.

    Wow!

    And big two thumbs up for dad!
     
  3. Derek Reaban

    Derek Reaban Mezzo Piano User

    609
    1
    Jun 16, 2005
    Tempe, Arizona
    40cal,

    Thanks for posting that link. What an inspiration he must be to all those he comes into contact with. Wow!
     
  4. 40cal

    40cal Forte User

    1,258
    0
    Dec 13, 2005
    Minnesota
    Father and son are the definition of true heroes.

    Great story!
     
  5. Eclipsehornplayer

    Eclipsehornplayer Forte User

    2,378
    5
    Sep 14, 2005
    Metro Detroit
    Wow,

    That is just a great story! thanks for posting.
     
  6. WJWenner

    WJWenner New Friend

    1
    0
    Oct 22, 2006
    Source

    Patrick Hughes (both) are incredible.

    This article appears to be very similar to an article written by Rick Reilly for Sports Illustrated. October 16, 2006.
     
  7. knowitman

    knowitman New Friend

    1
    0
    Nov 1, 2006
    I am a trumpet player in the University of Louisville band, and have had the pleasure of meeting Patrick through the band. It is very motivating hearing him talk about all the things he has accomplished. He also tells good jokes and has a bunch of funny stories.
     
  8. Whataguy!

    Whataguy! Pianissimo User

    63
    0
    Jan 16, 2004
    Osaka, Japan
    Undoubtedly, Patrick Henry is a phenomenal fellow, but my role model is Patrick John. I want to be the kind of father he is.
     

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