Tom Gassaway -- Tuba -- The Dixieland Rascals
I love playing music with all of these folks because we get to laugh and enjoy ourselves. Music is a great hobby!
I think I am the junior member of this group in that I only played with them one year during college. In 1970 I played at "The 18th Amendment" with Bob Striebel, Jim Roller, Rich Howard and Jeff England. That was a good way to make some extra spending money and learn some tunes. That was also, thanks to Jim Roller, where I was introduced to the music of Jelly Roll Morton, King Oliver and Fats Waller, and the beginning of a love of music from the 1920's and 30's.
I got away from this music during my four years in Air Force bands and for some time after that but it was always in the back of my mind. It got resurrected purely by accident in 1975. My wife and I were visiting Columbia to attend an MU football game. Rich Howard saw us, hollered from his car that a few members of the gang were still playing somewhere in Columbia and we should come out that night to see them. We saw them and the memories and good tunes came back. However, for various reasons, I was not able to get back to it until The Tiger Rag Forever Jazz Band called me in 1981 to play tuba and arrange for them. Since then I have worked with them, the St. Louis Stompers, the St. Louis River Critters, the St. Louis Ragtimers and just about anyone else who called, needing a tuba or piano player.
My musical tastes and gigs are quite diverse. I play tuba with the New Century Brass Quintet and have also participated in the last 6 Merry Tuba Christmas performances in St. Louis. I have played tuba or accordion (a/k/a the Stomach Steinway or Belly Baldwin) in many German band jobs and sing-alongs. The last eight years I worked for the Greater St. Louis Marching Band Festival as a timing and penalty judge and have been involved with the Marching Mizzou Alumni Band for 10 years.
We might be grayer and heavier than we were in college but we can still do one thing we loved in college, make music. Very few people can say they can do something today as good as or better than they did 35 years ago. I hope we continue playing and keep those days and this music alive.