Music Rings Out At Jack Adams’ Memorial Service

Every Chrismas Eve for years, the Unitarian Church resounded with the sound of Jack Adams’ trumpet. Many of his students joined him, in memorable performances.

Music church rang out again yesterday, as family, friends and many fans gathered to pay tribute to the life of one of Westport’s most popular band leaders and teachers.

Jack Adams

Jack Adams

When Doug Davidoff realized that the exceptional acoustics of the Victor Lundy-designed church offered their own perfect tribute to the musician who died last month, he pulled out his iPhone and began recording.

The selections — played by a brass ensemble of 6 former students — provide a legacy as powerful as any of the heartfelt words spoken at the service.

Trumpeters Jon Owens, John Kirk  Dulaney, Andrew Willmott and Jon Blackburn, plus Dave Smith (French horn) and Jim Marbury (brass trombone), performed “Jesu Joy,” “Sheep May Safely Graze” and other brass favorites.

Speakers included former students who — inspired by Adams — went on to become music educators. Davidoff recorded the memorial statement offered by his mother, Denise Taft Davidoff. “It may have been been a ‘cornball’ thing to do, as Mr. Adams might say,” Davidoff conceded.

But it’s included in this tremendous tribute that Davidoff generously shares with “06880” readers — and Jack Adams’ countless fans, everywhere. Click below to hear it:

8 responses to “Music Rings Out At Jack Adams’ Memorial Service

  1. Mary-Beth Murray

    Hi. I don’t believe the link was included to hear it.

    • There is a Soundcloud link at the end of the story. I checked on my laptop, iPhone and iPad, and it’s there on all 3. Click on the orange arrow in the upper left corner of the photo of Jack — or on any of the various selections from “New England Doug” underneath the photo.

  2. Gerry Kuroghlian

    Jack Adans, a true gentleman from Kentucky, was a great musician and teacher. His verbal tributes from his daughter-in-law Ann Nunes and former student John Dulaney were matched by the musical tributes by Adams’ former students playing selections from Bach, Handel and Gabrieli. To teach is to touch the future as evidenced by two former students who are currently teaching. Move over Gabriel, you have competition!

  3. Thanks to Dan for distributing this tribute.

    Technical note: SoundCloud is like YouTube for audio. You can start the playlist by clicking on the red right-facing triangle “play” button next to “Brass Ensemble” on the SoundCloud that Dan embedded in this post.

    Alternatively, you can visit my writeup about yesterday’s service by going to the main page with all the selections in a playlist at Again, click on the red right-facing “play” button next to the header, or click on each selection.

    I just added the scan of the cover of yesterday’s order of service to the Sound Cloud page, so it now shows up in the embedded SoundCloud on this blog post.

    Westporter Dawn McCabe, now a second-grade teacher in Worcester, Massachusetts, posted the scan on her Facebook page and it is borrowed from there. Dawn — who is my classmate from Long Lots and Staples — yesterday left behind the yard-deep snow on her lawn to drive to Westport for Jack’s memorial. She wrote this morning on her Facebook page: “Yesterday’s service just confirmed what a kind and talented gentleman he was. Though my trumpet remains in the attic (after spending time with each of my boys in high school), the love of music he nurtured in me remains strong. Godspeed, Jack Adams.”

    • The man, the myth, and yes, the legend. That guy could blow the hell out of a trumpet — and keep a small mob of unruly kids in check. How many high school football games did I go to with him on the bus, between 1975 and ’77?
      Yeah, I too was there with you, Doug, and Dawn (I wish you both well), in both LLJHS and Staples. I was always the tallest trombonist, so guess who was front row-center for the Memorial Day Parade?
      While I cannot say as I have thought about Mr. Adams a lot over the many years, I can say that have thought and remembered him as a kind man, a guy who gave a mediocre musician (on a good day) like me a seat (or spot on a bus, or in a parade line), and for that I will always thank him. My parents liked him. That says something right there.
      Greetings to Westport from the Great Frozen North of the Adirondacks. I finally made it here — with my trombone — and played it (fairly mediocrely) in the annual Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Parade. — BRY

  4. Aaron B. O'Connell

    The music I learned from Jack — Hummel, Bach, Handel, and others — have been one of the essential guideposts in my life. Hearing his students play these three pieces (which I remember playing with him in his house on Long Lots road) was a marvelous way to remember him. He was, without a doubt, one of the most important teachers in my life, and I will remember him fondly.

  5. Thanks, Dan … and thanks, Doug.

  6. Thank you so much for sharing this with those of us who remember Mr. Adams fondly, but are too far away to have attended. I had him as a teacher at Long Lots and remember fondly playing in the Pit for Bye Bye Birdie….and others along the way….and I know the names of the musicians playing here….lovely to hear! I took my love of music to the great white north, where I am a Band director and the Music director (actually the entire music department!) for a small school system in Northern Maine. I am sure I owe some of this to the love of Band I developed in Westport. Rest easy and enjoy the heavenly music, Jack Adams!