Ed Goldstein, founding member and director of the Peabody Ragtime Ensemble and Baltimore’s annual Tuba Christmas, was a wonderful man and a great talent, a tubist and humorist. I was fortunate to be in his congenial company many times, usually on my radio shows and television show. He died the other day at age 68. Last year, Ed received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Musicians’ Association of Metropolitan Baltimore. Here are his remarks in accepting the award.
I was raised in a manner which we call old school.
My mother studied violin in the 1920’s with Celia Brace. Her family had not many assets, but a strong love of music. They couldn’t afford a violin, so they had a violin maker, Nicholas Vasich, live in their house for three years in return for making my mom a violin. She went on to play in orchestras under Eugene Martinet with folks such as the son of violin maker Carl Holzaphal, Carl Holzaphal Jr, and a very young Leigh Martinet. She played solo violin for many weddings and she was particularly very proud of playing for Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Baltimore Memorial Service at the War Memorial Plaza.
Dad, Oscar Mark Goldstein, was born in 1900. He studied with Gustav Strube, the first conductor of the BSO and the President of Peabody Conservatory. He was a professional jazz and classical violin and violist and was one of the first musicians to play live on the radio in Baltimore with his sister, Helen, on piano. He played regularly, leading a band on Park Avenue in Chinese restaurants. He joined the Musicians Union in the late teens and came home to tell his mother what he had done. “No son of mine is going to be a Union member,” she said, and told him to march right back and unjoin, which he did. Shows how the attitudes have changed against Unions, or maybe they sadly haven’t.
One of my earliest memories of them was there playing a duet while I was standing in my crib. I may have not even been able to talk then. I remember reaching up to hold and try to play one of their violins and couldn’t quite understand why they wouldn’t let me.
Baltimore City Schools had a superb music program coordinated by Leigh Martinet. Every 2nd grader over the course of the year studied Scheherazade and Carmen. Even though we didn’t know the term leitmotif, we all could recognize and identify all the characters by their theme. It was an amazing introduction to classical music. I wish those teachings were commonly in place these days.
In 4th grade at Pimlico Elementary I started studying the violin, with my teacher, a horn player by the name of J. DiPasquale.
In 5th grade we had a new teacher, a percussionist by the name of George Gaylor. We moved halfway through the year to Cross Country Elementary, and I started studying with a trumpet player by the name of Frank Chemay.
I started taking piano lessons with Joyze Sutherland at the Peabody Institute. It was then that I finally started to read music. Until then, I was getting away with playing by ear.
In Pimlico Junior High, I met violinist Cline Otey, who changed my life. It turned out that mom played together with him when they were both young.
My parents got season tickets to Painters Mill Music Fair. Frank Chemay was in the pit, a young John Crocken was in the pit. He always had earplugs in one ear during the shows. It turned out that he was listening to the Orioles games. He won’t remember, but every show I would ask what the score was. After a couple of shows, Cline Otey would take me backstage at intermission. That was thrilling for a young pre-teen. I met Jose Feliciano’s sight guide dog. Once Cline took me outside to meet Issac Hayes’ limo driver who gave me a complete tour of Mr. Haye’s totally pink limousine, complete with a hot tub in the back. I was also backstage at the intermission for the Ann Corio’s Burlesque show, which was quite an eye opening experience for a 13-year-old. It was around that time that I said that I wanted to play in the pit. I started learning the names of the musicians . . Ray Moore bass player, and a fellow by the name of John Melick.
At Northwestern High, I met Louis Varicchio, whose nickname was Mussolini. However, we got along. I played some percussion at the time in the band but I told Mr. Varricchio that I wanted to play a band instrument. It was then that I was introduced to the tuba. My main goal when I was in high school was that I wanted to play in the Circus. I joined the Baltimore Colts band in 1970 and learned the tuba fingerings that I didn’t know yet.
In college, I spoke to my then-teacher, David Bragunier, about how to go about playing the circus. He said that I needed to join the Musicians Union in order to play.
In November of 1972, I went down to 847 Eutaw Place and was greeted by a smiling Chris Evelyn. I was then ushered into the office of Harold “Snooks” Snyder, who mercilessly interrogated me. I signed the papers and was asked if I wanted to meet the president of the Union, Mr. Victor Feunealba, who couldn’t be more encouraging to a then 18-year-old. I never forgot that.
In February of 1973, a unique individual by the name of Zim Zemarel asked me if I wanted to play the circus. I practically jumped through the phone. That was the beginning of over 250 circus performances and to a 50-year career of teaching and performing.
I’ve been incredibly blessed in making my living as a freelance player at a time when there was so much work for union musicians – the circus, Ice Follies, shows at the Morris Mechanic Theater and many other venues. I estimate that I’ve played close to 4,000 gigs in the last 50 years. On July 4th of 1975, I played 7 gigs from 6 am to 10 pm. In a Peabody Ragtime Ensemble tour in Massachusetts, we played 26 gigs in 9 days. At the end of it, Jared Denhard threatened my life if I ever booked a tour like that again.
I’ve been incredibly lucky. With the guidance and support of the folks that I mentioned in the Union constantly supporting me, I’ve had a lot of fun.
I want to give a huge thanks to the members of the executive board for the recognition and the awarding of this Lifetime Achievement award, and thanks to all for the love.