This page gives us an opportunity to introduce one of our members “up close and personal”. Our featured player is Joe Gerdelmann, trumpet.
Joe Gerdelmann was a product of the Philadelphia schools, but his first motivation to play was hearing his uncle play Taps at a Memorial Day parade. At seven years old, his parents purchased a trumpet and arranged for his uncle to give him lessons. Joe has been involved with music ever since.
During the Vietnam War era he served with the 493rd Army Band. One of his assignments was playing Taps at the funeral services of fallen soldiers. It is ironic that what started his career became such an emotional challenge later in his life, but it also created a deep sense of patriotism and love of country.
Joe’s high school did not have a band, but by his high school years, his uncle had introduced him to two community bands – the Artisans Memorial Post Band and the Rockledge Fire Company Band. Both of these bands were very similar to the MCCB. The bands played concerts at retirement communities, community events, holiday celebrations and even the Mummer’s Parade. Joe played with these bands all through high school and for several years afterward.
Joe’s experience is an example of how important community and military bands were in our American culture, both in participating and in listening. Joe hopes they will remain so in generations to follow. He states, “When the MCCB performs the Armed Forces Salute, you can feel the pride within the whole band, but especially in our members who served in our armed forces.” Although his high school didn’t have a band, Joe was reunited with Fred Williams, his elementary and junior high band director, when he joined MCCB. Fred was a tuba player. “Renewing friendships is another nice benefit of performing in musical ensembles,” says Joe.
Joe’s wife of thirty years, Louise, is a music educator in the Methacton School District and Minister of Music at the Gwynedd Square Presbyterian Church. They often assist each other in their musical endeavors. Louise often performs on the pipe organ with the MCCB and also graciously facilitates the use of the church by the MCCB. Twenty five years ago Joe and Louise started to involve instrumentalists in the worship service, and now the church has a 30 plus member concert band. The band meets regularly and often plays at retirement facilities where the church members reside. This is a wonderful example of the role instrumental music can play in the religious community, bringing joy into the hearts of listeners and players alike. The MCCB is proud to have participated with many places of worship in our community and is grateful to them for providing performance and rehearsal opportunities.
Joe has worked in information technology for most of his professional career. He is currently employed as a Senior IT Consultant for FYI Business Solutions based in Parsippany, NJ. He attained his undergraduate degree from LaSalle University and his graduate degree from St. Joseph’s University – both universities in Philadelphia, PA. He is an avid Flyers fan and attends several games each season with his son, Mark. Both he and his wife enjoy concerts and Broadway shows. They regularly attend performances in the Philadelphia area and occasionally travel to New York or The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. for a concert or show.
Joe is a charter member of the MCCB and “has enjoyed every rehearsal and every concert”. He appreciates the challenge of the repertoire, the continued improvement and quality of the band, the camaraderie of the members and the enjoyment and appreciation expressed by the audience at performances. Rehearsals and performances give him a chance to get away from the daily grind and relax. He recently completed a two year term on the band’s board of directors. Joe’s wish is to surpass his uncle’s tenure in playing the trumpet. (His uncle played until he was 93 years old.) Joe’s only request is that when he nears that age, the directors give him easy parts to play.
Don Kline, personnel manager for the MCCB, writes this about Joe: “I consider myself fortunate to have known and worked with Joe Gerdelmann and Louise over a period of many years. Joe is one of the first people to fold up and put away a chair at the end of a rehearsal. He is a team player, he is a fine performer, and he conveys his love of music in the way he plays and how he acts. He likes to have fun, but gets the job done. He loves and respects his country, his church, and his music.”