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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Update: Herseth finale

Adolph "Bud" Herseth already had broken longevity records when he talked with The Lutheran (July 12, l989) about his 41 years as the principal trumpet of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. But the man whom The New York Times hailed as "the most dazzling player on his instrument in the world" wasn't ready to retire: "I want to play until I can't stand it, or they can't stand it. Hopefully somebody will know, preferably me."

Now on the eve of his 80th birthday, he is walking away from his first chair amid a fanfare of accolades. The American Symphony Orchestra League is presenting Herseth with its Gold Baton Award for service in the field, the first time the honor has been handed to an instrumentalist. It's a fitting tribute for the trumpet player whom the Chicago Tribune calls "the golden soprano voice of the CSO brass section."

While colleagues and critics alike praise him as an "institution" and "inspiration," Herseth describes himself "as a fairly decent guy who gave it his best every time he had the chance." And he has had that chance for 53 years. "I feel I'm praising God whenever I go on stage with the orchestra," the member of United Lutheran Church, Oak Park, Ill., said.


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