Steve Standefer (1968) Baritone Saxophone
I was a member of the original New Trier West Recording Jazz Ensemble which formed in the spring of 1967, in the wake of the very first NTW student musical, Potpourri ’66, in the fall of that year. I played baritone sax in the jazz ensemble, alto sax in the Symphonic Band, and in the orchestra when needed. In those days it could not automatically be assumed that clarinet players doubled on either sax or flute, so sometime orchestra pits at school musicals, etc., got quite full. It was all fun, though, and when Coach Mills asked if we would like to keep it going, no one said, “Naaaaa…” We were all on board!
I will attempt to sum up my experience in all of that, along with what it was like, in other ways, to be a NTW student. I was with the grand old ensemble until spring of 1969 when I wandered away to focus on something else that had started to matter to me. I was not much of a scholar, but I did go to the University of North Texas (at that time North Texas State), which was then, as now, one of the leading jazz education institutes in the country, if not the world. It was then that I realized putting down the horn was not such a bad idea. I had a roommate, in the dorm, who did the clarinet-tenor sax-flute thing as a jazz major, and then later went to the Air Force Bands, Woody Herman’s Thundering Herd, and Stan Kenton. When I realized how outclassed he was as an undergraduate, and saw how hard he had to work, I knew just sitting back and enjoying the music was my destiny. As it was my roommate, and friend (RIP), ended his musical career in law school in St. Louis.
I spent the 70’s drifting in and out of school, work, and family, trying to combine the three somehow, and ended up with what I considered to be a pretty strong, if diverse, general education, perfect for graduate school. Thinking I would at some point end up in either a second-tier law school or MBA program somewhere down the road, or teaching. I ended up in the Library and Information Studies program at Louisiana State University (LSU). My time from 1982 on was spent in public library administration, serving a world that needed its libraries. I never did teach, as some though I would, and never took French which has left a gap in my larnin’. And, oh yes: I am a Kiwanian.
So much knowledge, information, and books, and so little time.
Thank you, New Trier Township High Schools, with special recognition to the New Trier West High School Recording Jazz Ensemble.