SFMA History: Playing for Sinatra

When I first started to work on my bachelor's degree at the University of Miami I was already playing with the Miami Philharmonic, Ft.Lauderdale Symphony, Miami Beach Symphony and Caesar La Monica's Band on clarinet. Most of the professors at UM also knew that I doubled on Alto, tenor saxes and Flute. So one day Larry Lapin asked me if I would like to play the season at the Old Fontainebleau where Lenny Dawson was the Contractor. Of course I said yes!!!

Well, the first act was Frank Sinatra, so I was a little nervous as I looked around the sax section and saw Norty Eisenberg, Ted Rosen, and Kirby Campbell, and I thought, "wow these guys are old but great players."

Lenny Dawson who "sort-of" played Tenor Sax decided to play First Tenor. As we were rehearsing for the show it was very apparent that Mr. Dawson could not cut it. So Frank walked in to the rehearsal and said what the heck is going on with the saxes. Lenny said to Frank, well it's the KID (meaning me), and he was the Contractor!

So, Frank asked us to play our parts one at a time and when it was Lenny's turn, Frank said get out NOW! So I thought, well Lenny will fire me right after the shows with Sinatra were over. So guess what, Mr. Sinatra came up to me and said, KID, don't worry, he will not fire you and I will take care of it.

So as the years went by I would find myself playing for Frank, and even if 2 or 3 years had gone by he always came up to me and said "How's it going Kid?"
I will never forget how he treated me with respect!

Carey Kleiman Local 655 AFM


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