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Here's the old man. I'd never tell him, but I used to sit for hours and listen to him practice. I'd wallow in the beautiful sounds coming out of whatever ancient bass he was playing that day. He could make a scale sound like the most wonderful thing you've ever heard. He played jazz gigs and traveled Canada in dance bands as a teenager. Went on to study legitimate playing in Toronto, then graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. He played double bass in the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. After a successful and satisfying career of 40 years, he retired in 1998.
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The old man makes the cover of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra program. September 1985. Image property of Ben Spiegel. George Szell conducting the Cleveland Orchestra. 1957. And there's the young Rodney, serious as can be in black horn rims and white bow tie. Detail from George Szell conducting the Cleveland Orchestra. 1957.
Pittsburg Symphony Orchestra with William Steinberg in 1971. Rodney returning home to Toronto while on tour with the Pittsburgh Symphony. This is the picture from the New Bedford Sunday Standard-Times article on hometown boy done good. 12/8/63. Thought I'd slip this one in here. This is my great great great grandfather. He's my mother's father's mother's father's father (honest), William Henning, born 1819 in Prussia. He played bass in the Preston (Ontario, Canada) String Orchestra.