Around the Town with Rene

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CHS alum earns spot in U.S. Navy Band

Sonia and Gerry Hecht are not only warm and loving people but they have a wonderful family — three great sons, Alan, David and Dr. Phil Hecht, whose son, Brian, is fulfilling his dream with his current endeavor. Brian is also the son of Catherine Hicks and brother of Travis.
A career in the military was about the last thing Brian Hecht was thinking about when he graduated from Coppell High School in 2003 and began studying trombone performance at the University of Texas.
He dreamed of one day earning a living doing what he loves most — playing the trombone. And now that dream has come true for him in an unexpected package.
Hecht will serve his country while still being able to fulfill his dream of becoming a professional trombone player. In August, he earned a bass trombone spot in the United States Navy Band after a series of very competitive auditions.
After auditioning in May with 35 other bass trombonists he was selected as one of the top four, but then the Navy Band officials decided not to offer the spot to anyone and to repeat the audition process at a later time.
Hecht auditioned again in August with another 35 bass trombonists. This time he was the one who was selected for the Navy’s premier musical organization of nearly 90 members.
The 24-year-old said he was thrilled to find a full-time job so quickly after completing his master’s degree in bass trombone performance at Northwestern University in the Chicago suburb of Evanston earlier in the year. He earned his bachelor’s degree in bass trombone performance at UT-Austin in 2007.
Hecht first took up playing the trombone in 1996 when he was in the sixth grade under the guidance of Coppell trombone instructor Jon Bohls. He played the tenor trombone and marched in the CHS Band under the direction of Scott Mason from 1999 to 2003.
He switched to the bass trombone at the end of his sophomore year in college.
“I am really thankful for my teachers who pushed me to keep it up,” Hecht said, adding that he remembers some as sometimes being hard on his students. “I feel like everything was necessary. I wouldn’t be the player or person I am today if it weren’t for them.”
Hecht added, “I credit a lot of my success of just where I am today to Mr. Bohls and the amazing teacher that he is and the amazing player that he is. I wouldn’t have been able to have the concept of sound in my head without him being such a great musician. It really helped that he was able to play for us in our lessons.”
Hecht’s UT teacher Nathaniel Brickens also played a major role in his trombone skill development, he said.
Bohls, who still teaches trombone to Coppell middle and high school students, said Hecht’s winning the position is wonderful. “It shows that lots of dedication and hard work do pay off,” he said.
Bohls, who taught Hecht for seven years, said he remembers that Hecht in his first year of trombone was good, but nothing stood out, although he was one of the better players in the section in middle school.
“It wasn’t until his senior year in high school that he decided that he wanted to become a really good player. He made All-State that year. After that, he decided to go to the University of Texas as a trombone major,” Bohls said.
After he switched to bass trombone, Hecht was determined to win a job, Bohls said. “He has worked hard to get where he is today,” he added.
The hard work required of Hecht will continue, although not in the same way as during the last 13 years. Now he’ll hardly be able to touch a trombone — at least for eight weeks.
Hecht is currently doing his basic training at Great Lakes, Ill.
“They told me to not even bring my horn,” he said, although one will be provided to him for the weekly one-hour rehearsals of the graduation ceremonial band.
After the rehearsals, he will have to get back to running and doing push-ups.
Hecht said he’s actually looking forward to doing the basic training. Some military bands do not require members to go through basic training, but the Navy does.
“I’m glad I will be going through basic training so I can hold the right to wear the uniform,” he said.
After completing basic training, Hecht will be stationed in Washington, D.C., where he will be a first class petty officer and will alternate weekly between performing with the concert and ceremonial bands.
Hecht said he’s ready for the challenges ahead. “Every experience I’ve had from high school to undergrad through my master’s prepares me for anything they are going to throw at me, whether it is orchestral repertoire, band repertoire or marching.”
Good luck. Good “wisches” to Brian!

Informational program on swine flu

The Tarrant County Public Health Department will provide a 30-minute informational program on the H1N1 virus (“swine flu”) at Beth-El Congregation, 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 13.
This will not interfere with the 12 noon Daytimers event at Beth-El. Those with young children are especially urged to attend.
This program has been arranged by the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County with the support of Ahavath Sholom and Beth-El congregations.

Return trip for Dave Lieber: ‘Daytimers’ to watch the Watchdog!

There’s nothing funny about getting hurt by a scammer or even your bank or credit card company. Star-Telegram Watchdog Dave Lieber will detail “How to Bite Back When Businesses and Scammers Do You Wrong” at the “Daytimers” luncheon, Wednesday, Jan. 13, noon, at Beth-El Congregation.
For 30 years, Dave Lieber, a humorist and storyteller, has used stories to help change our world. Dave is “The Watchdog” investigative columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and is one of Texas’ most popular speakers. He won the Katie Award from the Dallas Press Club as the Best Columnist in the U.S. Southwest. He is co-founder of one of North Texas’ largest children’s charities, Summer Santa, which serves thousands of children each year through a volunteer service that has no office or paid staff. His work for Summer Santa earned him the Will Rogers Humanitarian Award presented to the U.S. newspaper columnist whose work produces positive effects on the lives of readers.
He is the author of two popular books, “The Dog of My Nightmares: Stories by Texas Columnist Dave Lieber” and “Dave Lieber’s Watchdog Nation: Bite Back When Businesses and Scammers Do You Wrong.”
Lunch will be catered by Jason’s Deli. Guests have a choice of turkey or chicken salad on whole wheat, or tuna salad on rye. Lunch is $9. Guests may attend the program only for $4.
For reservations, call Barbara Rubin, 817-927-2736, or Sylvia Wexler, 817-294-1129, or checks can be mailed to Daytimers, Beth-El Congregation, 4900 Briarhaven Road, Fort Worth, TX 76109.
The Sylvia Wolens “Daytimers” is a program of Beth-El Congregation with financial support from the Jewish Federation.

Chanukah fun at CAS

The brightly decorated Congregation Ahavath Sholom Fun Room certainly lived up to its name Sunday morning, Dec. 13. The religious-school students were busily creating Chanukah crafts for friends and family. Chanukah music played in the background as the children, engulfed in a sea of chanukiot (Chanukah menorahs), sevivonim (dreidels), nerot (candles) and ruach (spirit), worked at various craft stations.
Older children sat and helped younger children, teachers flitted from table to table giving assistance when necessary, and everyone was eager to show off the beautiful Chanukah-themed pot-holders, travel coffee mugs, door hangers and dreidel decorations they were making. Excited smiles were on joyful faces, and the time raced by. All too soon, school was over for the day and the children were anxious to get to the delicious lunch of hot dogs and latkes provided by the CAS Men’s Club.
This was the final religious-school event of 2009, but many more are planned for this year. Please join the CAS religious-school students as they celebrate their Tu B’Shevat seder on the morning of Jan. 31.

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