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World-class trumpeter to play Mayor’s Jazz Fest


Internationally-known trumpeter Wayne Bergeron, performing with the popular area ensemble Border Jazz Orchestra, is set to headline the 2024 Mayor’s Jazz Fest.

Bergeron’s career has spanned everything from big band performances to features on television and film soundtracks to guest performances with ensembles around the world.

Later this month, the acclaimed trumpeter will perform on the Plaza de Las Cruces the city’s event, which will begin at 6 p.m. Sunday, May 26. Organ Mountain High School Jazz Workshop Bands 1 and 2 will also perform.

“I'm excited about coming out and playing this festival, and what an honor it is to be asked,” Bergeron said.

The annual jazz event is free and open to the public on the Plaza de Las Cruces, located at 100 N. Main St.

Bergeron spoke with The Las Cruces Bulletin about his career and upcoming Las Cruces date. The Q&A has been edited for length.

Can you walk us through your personal background, how you got into music to begin with?


Bergeron: Basically, I got started playing brass. I've been interested in music since I was a little kid. My parents used to tell me that I was always grabbing stuff and banging on it and banging on pianos. When I took up going into seventh grade, I started on French horn and was switched to trumpet. … My school was vandalized and my French horn was destroyed, so they switched me to trumpet, so that’s how my career kind of started.

My junior high band director was my first trumpet teacher … and he kind of took me under his wing and showed me a lot of things about playing different styles of music and things and skills that I still draw on to this day.

I had some natural ability when I was young, as far as playing in the upper register on the trumpet, for whatever reason. Sometimes it's just our physical makeup. Anyway, I’ve been able to do this since I was a little kid. I had some little things I could do and I noticed the other kids couldn't do it … That's probably what kept me interested in playing trumpet. I pursued it through high school. I ended up starting college but dropping out of college to go on the road – I got called to go on the road with a band, so I actually left college to do that.

I toured with Paul Anka and I toured with a singer named Helen Reddy … I've lived in Los Angeles my entire life so I’ve kind of been here in the hub of the entertainment industry.

I went on the road with Maynard Ferguson, who was a very famous trumpet player in the mid-80s, and that kind of helped my career a bit. You get a reputation for being on a band like that. So in Los Angeles, I started doing a little bit more studio work and getting called for some things and now that’s kind of mainly what I do – I’m in the studios, I do movies and play on people’s records and things like that. I do a lot of teaching and master classes.

What keeps you excited about trumpet, about playing?

Bergeron: A little bit of it’s about legacy … I'm 66 now and I've been doing this for a long time. So I have people in college coming up to me or even out of college or older, you know, they’re maybe 28 or 29 years old, and they go, ‘I met you when I was in my first year in college and you did a master class and you played with that band.’ And then they'll say, ‘I'll never forget that you were so kind to us, and I learned this and that.’

Do you have a performance or a piece or just an experience that really impacted you during your career?

Bergeron: I’ve done a lot of really cool things in my career … A lot of times people ask me, ‘What's your favorite movie you ever played on?’ It used to be “The Incredibles,” just because it's a very trumpet-heavy movie …”The Incredibles” was like a James Bond kind of score, a lot of high trumpet, which is kind of like what I like to do. More recently, in 2019, I played on the new “West Side Story” movie with the New York Philharmonic, so I was flown back several times to get to record with them.

My teacher, Uan Rasey, played first trumpet on the original “West Side Story” movie. So to get to play that music, that iconic Leonard Bernstein score, in my trumpet teacher’s chair … it’s a big full circle moment for me. And so that movie is something I'm very, very proud of and I’m kind of featured prominently in it.

Can you give us a hint as to what audiences might hear from you this month?

Bergeron: It’ll be big band music, of course, they know that, and it'll be mostly jazz-based. But there'll be some Latin things; like, I do some very recognizable things that I've had arranged in a jazzy way, like “Friend Like Me” from the Disney movie, “Aladdin.”

People that don't know jazz or music or kids, they recognize the song as well, so you can pull an audience in that doesn't know anything about this kind of music.

We're going to do “When You Wish Upon a Star,” which is a trumpet duet that Pancho (Romero) and I will probably play together. It's a really beautiful arrangement of that … The (Border Jazz Orchestra) will probably play a couple of tunes on their own before I come out and I'll probably play five or six things.


What can we expect from you next? What projects are you working on?

Bergeron: The last movie I did was this movie, “Wish,” the new Disney movie. I did that and … “Big City Greens,” which is an animated feature they made into a movie recently. But it's been slow. This summer there'll be an onslaught of stuff because all those things (halted during the SAG-AFTRA and writers guild strikes) will be getting done. … I play on “Family Guy” …and “American Dad,” I do Mickey Mouse shorts. I do a lot of children's things like that.

…I play with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra here, which is a sister orchestra to the LA Philharmonic. It's like the pops orchestra. I'm not a regular member of the group, but I do almost every concert. And I'm doing something with the San Diego Symphony in early July, as well.

Wayne Bergeron, Internationally-known trumpeter, Mayor’s Jazz Fest