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Fresh Coast Creatives: A lifelong love of the trumpet with Jim Bekkering

Jim Bekkering:  Director of Admissions and Financial Aid; summer of 2010.
Jim Bekkering: Director of Admissions and Financial Aid; summer of 2010.

Jim Bekkering's trumpet resonated through the halls of St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Beulah, accompanied by the light pouring in through the tall windows, offering a view of Platte Lake and Lake Michigan below.

After seven decades of playing the trumpet, Jim still feels the same passion as he did as a kid when he first picked up the trumpet. Reflecting on the wear and tear of his cherished instrument, Jim points out the faint brass outlines against his silver trumpet.

“That’s the acid in our hands that eats away over time,”Jim said. “For me, it’s probably perspiration from being so nervous.”

Jim was just a kid when he picked up his first trumpet – in the first or second grade as he remembers it.

He found his first trumpet, in a closet, tucked away back in a closet in our house, and grew fascinated by the instrument.

“It was a piece of junk,” said Jim, “but it didn't matter to me.”

There were plenty of signs that he loved the trumpet. He can still remember when his older cousin would babysit and bring his horn. Soon, Jim began to love everything about the trumpet.

“I can still remember as a kid,” Jim recalled, “looking at it, in its case with a velvet blue background in this beautiful burnished brass. I loved the smell of valve oil and everything associated with it.”

Jim said the moment he knew for certain that he’d be playing the trumpet for the rest of his life came at Interlochen, while attending an orchestra concert playing Dvorjak’s New World Symphony.

“I have not been the same person since that concert,” said Jim. “It is absolutely indescribable. And as long ago as that was, I can still remember it vividly.”

As the president of the Benzie Area Symphony Orchestra, Jim leads a group of dedicated local musicians who volunteer their time for the love of music.

Jim describes his musical exploration as a continuous process of discovery, comparing it to peeling back the layers of an onion. “The more I peel the layers off of this onion,” Jim explained, “the bigger the onion gets. So I find what I'm finding, the more I learn, the more I understand how much I don't know.”

Jim Bekkering:  All State camper: summer of 1960.
Jim Bekkering: All State camper: summer of 1960.

Support for Fresh Coast Creatives comes from the Northwest Michigan Arts & Culture Network, inviting you to Fall into the Arts, and through an award from Michigan Arts & Culture Council.