VanPort Jazz

Big Band Jazz

mike evans - lead trumpet


Hi, I’m Mike Evans and I play lead trumpet in the VanPort Jazz Big Band.  In the fifth grade, I announced that I wanted to play the trumpet.  Although I had to try out an array of wind instruments, my resolve was unflappable and my trumpet journey began.  In addition to playing in all of the school ensembles, I began studying privately in the sixth grade.  In Junior High and High School I won several performance awards to include membership in the All State Honor Band and first chair in the All Northwest Honor Band. It was my junior year in High School that I first played in a big band, and I fell in love with big band music.  My affection for big band music was solidified my senior year in high school when I attended big band camp at Portland State University and was invited to sit in the trumpet section of the Glenn Miller Orchestra for a set.  It was my senior year in high school when I was privileged to play at numerous venues in Mexico City, Mexico.


I attended college at California Lurtheran University in southern California where I studied under Elmer Ramsey.  It was while in college, as I played in numerous ensembles, I learned that I had a major embouchure problem.  Mr. Ramsey overhauled my embouchure and my overall playing, especially my upper register, opened up.  While in college I participated in all aspects of musical performance, from preparation to performing to recording.  It was during this time that I appeared, on screen, as a trumpet playing extra in motion pictures by Twentieth Century Fox, and Paramount Studios.  Also, while in college I learned the art of music copying and served as a copyist for John Davidson, John Denver, and numerous television, recording, and motion picture projects. (If we ever meet, ask me to tell you the story about the studio cassette copy of John Denver’s Windsong recording and my tape eating tape player in my car!)


It was my senior year in college, shortly after winning a young artist competition with a southern California symphony that I received a phone call and an invitation to join the Glenn Miller Orchestra.  So, off I went, flying to New York City to meet up with the band.  I played hundreds of performances with the Glenn Miller Orchestra all over the United States, Canada, Venezuela, Europe, and Japan.  I played for President Carter’s inaugural ball and appeared on television shows with them on several occasions.  We recorded two albums during my time with them, recording at A&M Records and the world famous Capital Tower.  My time with the Glenn Miller Orchestra was one of the great experiences in my life and I remain friends with many of the band members to this day.


During my playing career I performed shows with Rosemary Clooney, Florence Henderson, Gordon MacRae, Billy Eckstine, and others.  Returning to Vancouver from the road, I played in several local groups, including the lead trumpet chair of the Border Patrol Big Band.  But, I left music as a career and pursued a different vocation, which took me away from my trumpet for 25 years.  Five years ago, I decided to pick up the trumpet on a serious level again.  During the past several years I have retired from my second career and am playing in groups around the southern Washington/northern Oregon region.  I recently played lead trumpet for the Columbia Gorge Jazz Collective Big Band in Hood River, Oregon, and currently play jazz trumpet for the North Coast Big Band in Astoria, Oregon (as well as some concerts with the North Coast Symphonic Band), and have been playing lead trumpet for the VanPort Jazz Big Band for nearly four years. I have a very powerful sound and have been told that stylistically, I am a combination of Maynard Ferguson and Doc Severinsen. I love playing big band trumpet and if you are at one of our performances and want to talk trumpet, please say hi and let’s talk.


Equipment: I play Stomvi and Yamaha trumpets, and a Cousenon flugelhorn. I play on Bob Reeves mouthpieces.