click on the Sai
Footprints Photo to see large size
Photos of Ganesha procession at Puttaparthi's main road
The Ganesh Idols made with so much enthusiasm and love by the institutes
students will be presented to Swami at the Prasanthi mandir tomorrow and
after Swami's blessings tomorrow i.e. (perhaps) between 9.30-10:00 am. the clay
Ganeshas will be immersed in the Chitravati river.
Today it was the resident of Puttaparthi that celebrated the last day of
Ganesha Chathurthi with the procession of Ganesha statues, the main road
was full of people, local as well as devotees.
Aug: Students this morning didn't bring any Ganeshas for Swami's
blessings, it seems that this years program is bit different than the
previous, we'll keep you updated of the happenings.
August Sri Sathya Sai Baba drove out side the ashram compound at around
3.30 p.m to the construction site of new Indoor stadium near the Sai Gita
shed / Gokulum. Also today 29th Aug. Swami made a visit outside.
The Sai Kulwant Hall was decorated quite simply but aesthetically for
. Buntings were
hung underneath the dome. In the middle of each were hung a floral chandelier,
made out of fresh flowers. The chandeliers were shining with the brilliance of
natural illumination as the source was the sunlight!
Swami came out of the Yajur Mandiram at around 8:10 am to the majestic Nattai (Mahaganapathim)
that was being played by the Nadaswaram troupe. The Ganesh Chathurthi had begun
in Parthi, with the arrival of Sai Ganesha, the Sai Vigna Nasha, the remover of
all our obstacles. Swami came and spoke to the tiny tots of the Sri Sathya Sai
Primary School and admired their craftwork which showed small Ganesha idols in
different altars made out of thermocol. Swami sat to the resounding chants of
the Prasanthi Vedam Group which was at that time chanting the Ganesha Atharava
Shirsham, in sync with the occasion. He called the various 'pujaris' (students
chosen from various classes-I UG, II UG, III UG, I PG, II PG) and blessed them.
It is tradition that every class takes a Ganesha, made out of mud, performs the
rituals in accord to that of the festival until the day of immersion. The mood
was upbeat in the student community. Then as if to get His children into an even
more excited state He permitted the students to sing stotrams and songs on Lord
Ganesha which they had prepared.
The atmosphere was filled with the melodious music for around forty minutes
suffused with interim commentary in English and Telugu at the start of every
song. A special mention needs to be made to the Hamsdwhani raga which came out
in the form of 'Vatapi Ganapthim'. It was sung at a higher tempo than usual
making it tougher for both the singer and the accompanist. But the tabla player
seemed to ward of that challenge with effortless ease as he raced through the
song almost matching the singer's notes with his each stroke. As the Shadjam hit
in the higher and lower octaves it could be heard even off the tabla! The singer
also was excellent providing an escalating series of Swaras and gammakas which
was a treat to the ears of connoisseurs of classical music. The audience were
After the songs Swami accepted Aarti and retired to the Yajur Mandiram at around
9:35 am. In the evening, Bhagawan went into the interview room at three o'clock
after finishing His darshan round, and came to the Bhajan Hall at around 4.40.
There, He interacted with some of the students and teachers of the Bhajan group,
and created a chain for the singer of 'Vatapi Ganapathim' mentioned above.
Bhagawan asked for Bhajans to begin at 4.50, took Arati at 5.30 and retired for
Marks Blog: Ganesh
Chaturthi 27/08/06 Morning and beyond
in the village 27/08/06 before sunrise
OM GANAPATAYE NAMAH
Sai Ram All
I am back in Australia,
tired, but all is well.
I will finally just reflect
what had transpired since the last post.
The evening prior to Ganesh
Chaturthi was basically a almost sleepless night. There was Ganesha bhajans
(the popular Indian commercial versions) playing loudly thru
loudspeakers most of the night, in the area where I was staying. I felt, I
needed to get up early to go to morning darshan, as I was expecting a large
crowd. I slept through the alarm and woke up around 5.30am. Oh bother! I
will miss darshan. About 10 mins later, I heard from my room, Ganesha pooja
over the loud speakers and rushed out with video camera to film one of the
many dotted around the village. Photo included. After that a school group
of mostly young girls sang wonderful Ganesha bhajans. I felt Swami set this
up for me, as it was timeless to experience this, in the back lanes of
Puttaparthi. These sorts of events happened alot for me during the last
week, while I was staying in the village, and was also fortunate enough to
film. Priceless! is all I can say. Eventually I went to darshan. I was
astonished to see the small amount of people in the hall. Only a few
decorations and the Ganesh statue duly decorated. Swami came out and went
straight to the interview room. He came out a short time later and sat in
His chair to hear the students sing Ganesh prayers and bhajans. A short time
later Aarti was performed and He left. It was time to go back to village
room and pack-up ready for 4.15pm departure by taxi to Bangalore. I had no
intention of going to afternoon darshan, as I was very tired and just needed
to organize a few things before finally leaving. One thing I didn’t realize,
is that banks are closed on Sunday’s and I had no Indian money for taxi etc.
So I spent the next couple of hours trying to get Australian currency
changed. Its about 1.30pm and by now I was beat. I needed to rest and it was
hot. I also missed lunch. The Russian lady insisted we see Anil Kumar
(Swami’s translator), to ask him for permission to get on first line, as it
would be my last darshan. I basically said to her, I had no intention of
going to afternoon darshan. I finally surrendered and we went to his place
and he said just go to the security office and speak to so and so. But be
there in 20 mins. I had my camera and tripod with me, so I would need to go
back to my room to deposit them. As you all know, taking them to darshan is
not allowed. It was 1.55pm when I was at my room. 5 minutes to get back to
the security office. No way! I just sat there and said to myself. I’ve had
it and need to rest. But a inner prompting told me to go. So I did and
arrived at the office 2.20pm. They basically said it was too late, as
everyone was in the hall already seated. One mentioned just try the VIP
gate. I did. No! No! No! was the response. That was it!!! I asked and
pleaded within, to Swami. One more time, I asked, and a Seva Dal suddenly
took me to a spot in the first row. Sai Ram!!! Swami came out at 3.00pm and
for the first time in 3 trips, Swami looked at me for 3 seconds directly and
took my letter (the man who walks along with the car takes it and gives
it to Swami through the open window). First time since my first trip in ‘92.
Now in all my other trips, when Swami came close to me, He would suddenly
look away. I think He was trying to tell me something. To look within. Don’t
concern yourself with the outer form. Still its nice, if He, at least
acknowledges you in the hall. For about 10 mins, I had tears of total peace.
Back to worldly maya. I got
up and left the hall and walked back to my room. Takes about 15-20mins. So,
I can’t tell you what happened after that in darshan. It was now about 3.20
pm and the taxi man was already there waiting to wisk me away. Note: I
had booked for 4.15 pm. I quickly packed and was on my way by 3.35pm to
Australia. All the way the taxi driver expouned me on the yagnam and the
rituals. Quite amazing! Also note: The pilot of the plane was Sri Mr.
Landed in Australia at
7.45pm on the 28/08/06.
Its nice to be back.
May Bhagavan bring joy and
peace to you all.
He is the motivator and
doer of ALL THAT IS. Why fear when He is with you at all times and all
places. Love, love, love. LIVE IN LOVE
There was a lot of excitement in the air at Swami's imminent visit to the
Institute to inaugurate the new Multimedia Video Conferencing Room (MVCR). All
the students were at the Institute by 6:45 am. The MVCR was a hub of activity
and so was the MVCR at Brindavan too. High profile guests from the ongoing
economics conference, teachers and research scholars were in the MVCR.
At 7:45 am, news reached that Swami had left the Mandir towards the Institute.
Sure enough, Swami came in through the gate in front of the Primary school main
gate in a matter of minutes. He was welcomed by the poorna-kumbha and the
Vice-Chancellor and the Principal offered roses. Swami looked fresh and was
smiling as He came out of the car. He cut through the Institute foyer and also
collected letters from the students who were seated neatly in two blocks there.
He emerged into the Institute main corridor in front of the MVCR. There He was
presented with a remote, depressing a button on which, the curtain in front of
the plaque was drawn. Then He entered the room and lit the lamp to mark the
beginning of the proceedings. Mr. Gopal Srinivasan from the TVS group of
companies offered Swami the first manuals. He also spoke on some aspects of the
new facility and then dedicated the IT marvel at Swami's lotus feet. He also
implored Swami to give more such opportunities to serve Him.
This was followed by a presentation by the research scholars of the Institute on
the various uses of the MVCR. First and foremost, video clippings of Swami
inaugurating an OHP projector in the very same room! Also excerpts from Swami's
discourse were played. The Brindavan campus then came online and Swami saw the
students and teachers there on a screen in front of Him. The principal of the
Brindavan campus spoke on their behalf. He expressed gratitude to Swami and said
that the wonderful technology had enabled them to have His divine Darshan in
Brindavan. A hand went up on the screen and a student from the Brindavan campus
got up and asked a question. It was answered from Puttaparthi by the presenters
here and thus another wonderful aspect of the technology got high-lighted. The
presenter also made notes on a scratch pad and it was broadcast on a screen here
and in Brindavan in real time. Another boy from Brindavan was also asked to read
out what had been displayed on a power-point slide put up here and he did so
The Brindavan warden too spoke and expressed his gratitude. This was followed by
a few words from Mr. C. Srinivas. The Warden and all the students at Brindavan
called out, "Swami please come to Brindavan" in unison and Swami's face wore a
smile. Then He received Aarthi and blessing everyone and speaking with the
presenters and a few delegates to the Conference, left. On the way back to the
car too, He collected letters from boys in the foyer.
After this, Swami went over to the new Humanities building next to the library.
He inaugurated it by cutting an orange ribbon. He also went around the
classrooms in the building thus sanctifying them with His Presence. After
blessing all the teachers from the economics and English departments, Swami
received Aarthi and left for the Mandir. The time was 9:20 am.
In the evening, once again Swami went for a drive upto Gokulam after His darshan
round, and saw the activity at the construction site of the Indoor Stadium. -
More from 26th August
August Swami went outside the Ashram
compound for a visit. Swami returned back to Prasanthi Nilayam mandir five
minutes to Nine that is, just before the morning bhajans began. The
Indian festival of Ganesh Chaturthi is also having its positive impact here in
Puttaparthi village. The Local people are buying new clothes & villagers are
busy moulding and making Ganeshas out of clay. Ganesha Chathurthi is a very popular festival in
puttaparthy therefore celebrated in every home. At the Ashram Swami always
blesses the Ganesha idol made by different departments of the Sai institutes and
college students, they bring there beautifully decorated Ganeshas one by one in a procession for
Swami's blessing later all the Ganesha are immersed into the local Chitravati
river with a grand "march" and celebrations.
I have not been able keep you posted daily due to Swami has kept me out in the
village, filming a myriad of moments. A lot of interviews with devotees etc. I
have only been to a couple of darshans of late. Swami usually goes straight to
the interview room and then leaves at the end of bhajans. People have told me He
sometimes doesn’t even come. All the fire pits are gone, and the decorations.
Its like it never happened. The way these Swami workers materialize and then
de-materialize whole set-ups in a thrice astounds me. The lingam sits near the
statue of Shirdi, in the inner sanctum of the mandir. We line up and are filed
in to have Sayeeshwara Linga darshan. Huge clay Ganeshas are appearing
everywhere in the village for Ganesh Chaturthi on the 27th. The day I leave.*
Today 25th August Swami came at around 8.35 in the morning after taking the full
round Swami drove back towards the centre of the Mandir i.e. more towards the
ladies side. After alighting out of His car Swami went inside the interview
room, Swami also called an Indian family for Interview today, the interview
ended at around 9.15. Swami then went inside the bhajan mandir, the bhajan
singers were already in full swing with devotional songs. Swami's presence
lifted the whole spiritual atmosphere inside the Bhajan hall; somehow the
presence of divine form of kali yuga Avatar Sri sathya Sai Baba in front of the
eyes makes the bhajans even more melodious and sweeter!
Bhajans Swami was given the morning Aarthi, after the Aarthi Swami retired to
There are many
groups from different states here in Puttaparthi - Sevadal men/women on duty
inside the ashram are from Orissa.- SBOI
24th Aug-Sai Darshan update: Swami didn't come to Sai Kulwant hall this morning
- No morning darshan! the customary morning bhajans started at 9 a.m. - 9.30 a.m
In the evening Swami sat outside on the veranda for quite sometime while the
Veda chantings were going on by the students, the evening Bhajans started when
Swami went inside the Bhajan mandir and took His seat. At around 5.35 after the
evening Aarthi Swami drove back to Yajur mandir.
More Sai darshan details from
After the Ati Rudra Maha Yagnam, Prasanthi Nilayam has been quietening down -
getting ready for the next festival of Ganesh Chaturthi, let us say! Bhagawan
did not come for morning darshan today, but came in the evening and walked
onstage, sitting there listening to the vedam chanting by the students for
fifteen minutes till 4 o'clock. Then He proceeded to the interview room and
later came to the Bhajan Hall for the bhajans as usual.
Yesterday, Bhagawan had gone to the construction site of the Indoor Stadium
immediately after His morning darshan round at 8.30 am. Bhagawan asked for His
car to go right into the site. Parallel construction technique is being used
there, with concrete casting going on simultaneously at several places. Bhagawan
turned back to return to the Mandir before Bhajans began at 9 am.
Another conference is underway at the Prasanthi Nilayam campus of the Sri Sathya
Sai Institute of Higher Learning, this one hosted by the Economics Department.
The conference, titled "All India Economics Conference on Economic Growth with
Equity and Stability" has brought several luminaries in the field to Prasanthi
23rd – August 2006 : On this beautiful morning the lively Sai
Kulwant hall was filled with spirited devotees waiting for their Lord, one could
observe devotees craning their necks with eyes fixed towards Yajur Mandiram, at
around 8.30 Swami entered the Sai Kulwant hall in His car. A slowly moving car
passed by the ladies side and after taking the full round Swami came near the
portico and stopped outside the interview room i.e. the usual place where Swami
alights. Today Swami didn’t followed His usual routine. Swami talked
from inside of His car to a lady sitting near the interview room on the ladies
side and again drove back towards His residence, on the way out Swami talked to a
lady devotee sitting near the Ladies side of the Kulwant hall gate i.e. near Swami’s residence.
Swami car then drove towards Ganesha temple on the way Swami stopped His car
near the ladies entrance to the bhajan hall, this is quite unusual, Bhagawan
Baba’s car then went outside the Ashram compound.
(Bhagawan had gone to the
construction site of the Indoor Stadium immediately after His morning darshan
round at 8.30 am. Bhagawan asked for His car to go right into the site. Parallel
construction technique is being used there, with concrete casting going on
simultaneously at several places. Bhagawan turned back to return to the Mandir
before Bhajans began at 9 am.) Many Devotees sitting in Sai
Kulwant hall ran wildly towards Ganesha gate to catch a glimpse of Swami driving
out. After 10-15 minutes Swami’s car drove back and returned back again to Sai
From the bhajan hall one could see Swami’s car near the interview room, so the
door of the interview was opened but Swami came directly inside the Bhajan hall,
Swami looked radiant and gave a pleasing smile to the fortunate devotees sitting
inside the bhajan hall. Inside the bhajan hall’s Swami sat (onHis mobile
throne) in His
recognizable Blissful mudra, sometimes smiling and looking at the devotees and
at times with closed eyes looking so divine. Even a nano-second darshan of this
blissful Mudra is worth the waiting of a million year! Customary
Aarthi followed after the morning Bhajans, after the Aarthi Swami retired to His abode. - SBOI
It was on 21st August we started from Parthi after attending the great
Athi Rudra Maha Yagna. We started at 12oclock afternoon from ganesh gate ,
As we were proceeding towards Chennai we crossed a village by name
vengalacheruvu , We were travelling in a fiat Palio car and i was sitting
in the front seat. Our car was travelling in a speed of 40 - 50 km after
negotiating a bend we found a van speeding towards us with a great speed ,
it would be nearly 90- 100 km speed. Within a fraction the van rammed head
on with our car. No time to react . My head went and dashed on the Left
hand side of the car where a swami's
Abhyahasta photo was stuck. My head
directly went and hit the photo of Swami . Swami took all the intensity
and the force by which i went and dashed. Driver my friend was caught in
between the door and the steering. The front door of the car could not be
opened . It got jammed completely . Front side of the car was smashed
heavily By swami's immense love on us nobody
was hurt. Swami saved our lives. Car damage was heavy , The repair cost
is nearly 1.5 lakhs. The bumper , radiator, fan , gear box all damaged
completely. Even the heavy rod connecting the two front tyres were broken
in the impact. All the village people who heard the sound came for the
rescue before that swami came and saved us. All the people who saw the car
asked the first question " what happened to the passenger inside the car"
. Moreover the van was running in gas and had two gas cylinders in it. If
it would have burst the fate would be different. Swami conducted this
Yagna for the welfare and protection for the world. It is only swami who
saved us from this accident. The blessing of Sai Rudra saved us. Swami is
protecting his devotees like the eyelid protecting the eyes. Nearly I
thought I am dead after seeing the van coming in our direction. But I am
alive thanks to Swami. Bhagawan never allowed anyone of us to have even a
We are saddened to hear that Jazz legend and Sai Brother
Maynard Ferguson has passed. We had the pleasure and honor of meeting him
some years ago, in our home town, where he played a concert at our local
high school, and later on in Prasanthi Nilayam.
When I first began to write devotional songs for our Beloved Lord Sai
Baba, a Sai sister suggested that we contact Maynard Ferguson.
When we, initially, called his home, his wife, Flo, informed us that he
was on tour. However, she gave us his contact number, on the road. He
graciously, took the time, from his busy schedule, to accept our phone
call, and agreed to listen to our compositions and offer his advice.
We fedexed him cassettes of early renditions of our songs. He was very
supportive and offered a great deal of encouragement to us. We,
subsequently, met him while he was giving a performance in our home town.
Upon hearing that he would be performing in our home town, he called us
and left a message that tickets would be waiting for us at the box office.
If that wasn't enough, he arranged, to our surprise, to bring us backstage
to meet with him, and the band. Once again he was very encouraging and
shared packets of Vibhuti given to him by Swami.
We met again, in Prasanthi Nilayam where, once more, he and Flo warmly
received us. He expressed interest in the progress we had made with the
"God Lives In India" CD project. Moreover, he offered to provide the
musical accompaniment, with his band, if they were present when we were, finally,
able to sing in the Divine Presence.
Maynard was a great inspiration and never failed to respond when we called
on him. The very fact that we met him during, one of the high school
benefit concerts discussed in the article below shows that he put into
practice Swami's teachings of doing Seva.
He was kind, supportive, friendly, and even though a world renowned
talent, humble enough to meet with two, then, relatively unknown young
ladies, who had a love for Swami and a desire to express this love through
Maynard, while your physical presence will be greatly missed, we are
comforted by the belief that you are, now, one with Swami, and reunited
with your loving wife, Flo.
Om Jai Sai Ram,
April & Audrey Bailey "The Bailey Sisters"
Ferguson, the world-famous jazz artist, gave a concert for us, about
twelve hundred people, one night at the auditorium of the college. Baba
was seated in the middle of the stage and Maynard Ferguson was standing
next to Him on the right. He played Indian classical music set to jazz,
with Baba tapping away at the beat gently with His hand. Then Ferguson
played an incredible trumpet solo with all his heart. Baba stood up and
made a large circle, clockwise with His right hand. Swoosh! Out of the air
in front of everyone, Baba materialised a solid gold medallion, suspended
from a chain, and placed it around Ferguson's neck. There was no movement
in the auditorium. Not a flicker. It was as if time stood still.
Overwhelmed, Ferguson wept like a child, just as we sat there with tears
in our eyes and a sob in our throats.
"Why was it so beautiful? Maybe, because we all knew at that moment,
without question, what we had once known as little children but had long
since forgotten. There is a part in us all, at the very core of our being,
that wants to believe in angels, that good triumphs over evil, that Jesus
did really walk on water and that Moses had once parted the Red Sea... .
We want to believe all that and, regardless of what we say, we want to
stand by the good guy... and we ourselves want to be good. That is why we
wept and that is why it was so beautiful. The medallion was not a
magician's trick. It was made for us all. It was so that we could all
know, once and for all, that 'It is so, as it is written.' "
By Prof. N. Kasturi in SSS
By George Klein
"...But the piece that really knocked me out was something Maynard said he
wrote while teaching music in southern India at the ashram of Sri Sathya
Sai Baba. It's called "Sweet Baba Suite." (It's on his new Concord CD
These Cats Can Swing. I found it at WEMU read the notes.) It blends
beautifully the Indian raga bai-rav with straight ahead jazz. Maynard even
chanted and played soprano sax to create the Indian feel. I had no idea
that he was capable of something like this, or that he teaches at this
ashram every year. It's certainly not the first attempt to combine Indian
music and jazz, but the conception and execution were outstanding. There
were parts that sounded Indian and parts that were jazz, but a lot of it
sounded like a real synthesis of both. This Indian connection also
explained an extension of the omnipresent handshakes. After the handshake,
Maynard gave the Indian greeting of palms together and vertical in front
of the face.
So I can see more depth and cultural sensitivity in Maynard than I was
aware of before. This plus his obvious zest for what he's doing, his
incredible ability to play in the upper register, and a crop of talented
young players made for an exciting and worthwhile evening. Namaste,
Maynard...." By George Klein
Jazz trumpeter Maynard Ferguson, known for his soaring high notes and for
his recording of "Gonna Fly Now," a hit version of the theme from the
"Rocky" movies, has died. He was 78.
Ferguson, who lived in nearby Ojai, died Wednesday night at Community
Memorial Hospital of kidney and liver failure due to an abdominal
infection, friend and manager Steve Schankman said Thursday.
Ferguson's four daughters, Kim, Lisa, Corby and Wilder, and other family
members were at his side when he died, he said.
"Someone just said, `Gabriel, move over to second trumpet,'" Schankman
said from his St. Louis office. "He was the last of the greats. That era
is closed. There is no Kenton, no Basie, no Ellington, and now, no
Born into a musical family in Montreal, Ferguson began playing the piano
and violin at age 4, took up the trumpet at 9 and soloed with the Canadian
Broadcasting Company Orchestra at 11, then quit school at 15 to pursue a
career in music.
The next year he was leading his own dance band, the first of a number of
big bands and smaller ensembles he eventually fronted in a career that
produced more than 60 albums and three Grammy nominations.
Ferguson, also a much admired teacher, became identified with ear-piercing
power and dizzying high notes that he was still able to play with
precision. He was named Down Beat magazine's "trumpeter of the year" three
"My instrument is a thing of pleasure, and I play it only because I enjoy
it," he once said. "The most important thing is doing what feels right for
The trumpeter — who stood just 5 feet 9 — credited yoga with enabling him
to harness the full capacity of his lungs and routinely hit a
"He will be remembered for his soaring high notes, he'll be remembered as
Stan Kenton's lead trumpet player and he'll be remembered for movie
soundtracks like `The Ten Commandments,'" Schankman said. "But what they
should remember him for is his work as an educator.
"He played for students, visiting high schools, to raise money for
instruments and music programs.
And he left them with an inspiring remark."
As with many esteemed jazz players, mainstream success largely eluded
Ferguson. But he scored a Top-10 hit with his cover of "Gonna Fly Now,"
and the single spawned a gold album and a Grammy nomination in 1978.
"I knew it was going to be a hit," he once said of the Bill Conti
composition. "Sylvester Stallone was in the studio when we recorded it,"
punching a speed bag to the rhythm of the song.
"If you listen very close to the original recording, you can hear in the
mix the sound of him hitting the small bag," Ferguson said.
Ferguson moved to the U.S. at age 20, playing in big bands — including
Jimmy Dorsey's — and performing solo in New York City cafes. He then
joined Stan Kenton's orchestra, where his shrieking, upper-register
trumpet formed the backbone of the group's extensive brass section.
In 1956 he formed the first of several 13-piece orchestras known for the
crisp vigor of their horns. They helped launch the careers of such jazz
notables as Chick Corea, Chuck Mangione, Bob James, Wayne Shorter and Joe
As the popularity of jazz declined in the 1960s, Ferguson was forced to
scale down his big band, touring less frequently and favoring a smaller
He moved his family to India, where he absorbed Eastern music and
philosophy, then to England. He later moved back to the U.S., settling in
But he returned almost yearly to India.
"I go to teach, but I always end up learning more," he said.
In the late `60s and `70s, he created a musical niche by rearranging pop
and rock songs — "MacArthur Park" and the Beatles' "Hey Jude," for example
— for big bands.
Meanwhile, "Conquistador," the album that included "Gonna Fly Now,"
reached No. 22 on Billboard's charts and helped rekindle the public's
interest in big bands.
Born in Montreal on May 4, 1928, Ferguson said his most important musical
influences were Louis Armstrong and his mother, a violinist with the
Ottawa Symphony and later a school administrator.
He remembered being about 9 when he fell in love with the horn.
"I went to a church in Montreal, sort of like a Sunday school
get-together," and had a chance to put a cornet to his lips, he told the
St. Cloud (Minn.) Times in 2003.
"It was my first time playing the instrument," Ferguson said. "My parents
were really surprised when I said, `I have got to get me one of these.'
"I remember having the feeling after I played it that the trumpet was the
instrument for me."
Schankman said a memorial service will be held later in St. Louis.
Source: Associated Press Writer Mike Stewart in New York contributed to