Monday, January 22nd, 2018

Arthur O’Connor


When did you begin playing your instrument?
I’ve been playing since I was 7 years old. My mother bought my first trumpet for $10. It leaked like a sieve. I blew my first note into the alley while staying at the St. James Hotel in New York City.

How long have you been in the New Horizons band?
Well, I laid my horn down for 50 years and raised a family. Then my wife died in 2000, after seven years of battling lung cancer. About 10 years ago, my daughter suggested picking up my horn again, so I did.

Do you belong to any other musical ensembles?
I play with the Alpharetta Community Band, the Cobb County New Horizons Band, and a 17-piece swing band.

Do you play any other instruments?
I originally played piano.

Tell us a little about yourself.
I was born in New York City and lived there until I was four years old. Then we moved to Great Neck, Long Island and lived in a Catholic actors’ community. My folks were in vaudeville, so I had an entertainment background and I met a lot of show business people. I heard the trumpet and it excited me. I think it was probably on the radio and on records. I loved that sound! I still have the horn my Dad bought for me on 48th Street in New York City on Music Row. I played in the band in grade school, and when I was in high school I played with friends in a ten-piece dance band in Great Neck at “Swing Inn.” We made three dollars an evening. I went to Julliard, and I wrote dance band arrangements. I used to practice for 4 or 5 hours a day. I didn’t graduate from Julliard because I found out what the music business was like. A lot of people couldn’t find work. That’s when I called my cousin who got me into advertising.

 So, what was your line of work?
I called on major ad agencies to obtain advertising product. I sold advertising time and syndication. I worked in D.C., New York City, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Chicago, New York City again, and then finally I moved to Atlanta in 1969.

Do you have family?
I met my wife, Vivian, in D.C. where I was working for Hearst Metrotone Telenews, a syndicated newsreel service. She was a lieutenant in the Navy. We got married six months after we met. She was the love of my life. I have two children; a son and a daughter, and four grandchildren.

 With a name like O’Connor, how do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?
In a bar!

Are you 100 percent Irish?
I’m half Irish, half German.

What are some of best things that have happened to you in this life?
The first was getting married to Vivian. The second was getting into the broadcasting business.

What’s on your bucket list?
I’m 86 years old. Just staying alive! Playing music is what has kept me on the forward. But, really, age means nothing to me. It’s only a number.

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