Army Jazz Ambassadors swing at Boothe Park

By John Kovach
Stratford Star

News story photo
Photo credit: Ralph Petitti
Staff Sgt. Brian Keegan, trombonist, and Sgt. 1st Class Paul Armstrong, trumpet player, complement each other during The Jazz Ambassadors’ July 2, performance at Boothe Memorial Park in Stratford, Conn.
STRATFORD, Conn. -- The music played by the U.S. Army Jazz Ambassadors Friday night, July 2, spanned generations, from Louis Armstrong and beyond to Harry Connick Jr.

So did the chance to join with the band. Three Stratford High musicians were chosen to share the stage with the international group during its free concert in Boothe Park, and one veteran in the audience jammed as the show came to a close.

Frederick Kipp, who served during the Korean conflict with the United States Navy, took to the show a trombone he purchased with money from his grandmother when he was 12 at Manny’s on West 48th Street in New York City.

Now 72, the Stratford resident started his post-concert medley with “New York, New York,” and stopped to chat with members of the band.

As he reminisced, the next generation of musicians walked away from the stage they had shared with the Army band before a crowd of 1,000 to 2,000.

“It was awesome, definitely an experience,” trombonist Kevin Harrington said.

“They’re definitely some of the best,” Harrington added.

“It was awesome, definitely the experience of a lifetime,” said saxophonist Tyler Figgis.

“It was a great time,” said Sam Williams, who played trumpet and plans to study music at Western Connecticut State University.

All three will be high school seniors in the fall.

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