I met Rafael Méndez  - Larry Edmonson

I met Raphael Mendez in Indianapolis in 1957. The amount I learned about technique in one short clinic was, to me, amazing. The one thing that has lived with me over the years, however, is his response to one small boy's question. The boy appeared to be about ten years old. His question, asked in a plaintive tone, was: "Do I really have to practice twenty minutes a day?"

Most of the people in the room began to laugh. Mendez' response was instantaneous. "Please don't laugh," he said. The way he said it seemed to combine a sense that it was unspeakably bad to laugh at an innocent child and an imploring request to honor the better angels of our nature.

He was kindness incarnate. Mendez taught me much about playing trumpet that day; he taught me even more about being human.

Larry Edmonson