Rafael Mendéz loved working with young people. From January to June, he would perform with various symphonies, universities and high school orchestras and concert bands. For many students, Rafaels's expertise and charisma was thrilling.
In this page we present ...
stories from people who met the master:
Bill Bridges met Mendez in 1962 as an 8th grader, at Laurel Junior High School in Rome, New York
"His artistry and personal touch were an inspiration to me then, and have been for a lifetime. I don't know if you're interested, but just in case, below is an article I wrote about him some time back. Hopefully, it reveals a bit more about who he was."
"The man was absolutely gracious, both onstage and in private. And yes, as principal cornet, I received the (I suppose) obligatary 20 or so minute private lesson."
"As a cornet student, growing up in west Texas, in Odessa, I wanted to play like Harry James. Now, I do, but 1953-54 Rafael Mendez came to Odessa High School to perform with the band, and I got a whole new perspective on trumpet playing."
"I first meet Rafael at his home in Culver City while in High school.
I was 15 at that time and in the high school band where I sat next to Ralph and Robert"
"He came to our band-o-rama at Montebello High School (Montebello, California) in 1962."
"He was one of the most gracious, warm and caring individuals that I have ever met.
He made EVERY student he came in contact with, feel like they really meant something to him."
"He was kindness incarnate. Mendez taught me much about playing trumpet that day; he taught me even more about being human."
"The concert was at Northeastern Illinois University and he played with the Concert Band"
"Many years of great experiences thru college, inspired by Mr. Mendez. I recall he was a very gracious man. "
"I think that I owe much of what I have accomplished in music and life in general to those meetings, to that Man. He was truly a marvel in many ways."
"While a student at Castro Valley High School in California from 1956-60, I played with Rafael four times -- 3 with my high school band, and once at a summer camp in San Leandro, California, where I received the "Outstanding Music Student" award in 1958. "