I first posted this to my Crossroads blog in October 2011. The Trumpeter of Alert Bay appeared suddenly, played his trumpet to the delight of passengers coming to an end of an Alaska cruise, and then motored away. He left delight in his wake. I hadn’t thought about him for a while, but today his son left a comment on the post. That brought back a flood of memories. Jerry Higginson is the kind of man who gives me hope.
As a ship threads the straits that separates Vancouver Island from the mainland, returning from a cruise along the Inside Passage, passengers expect mountains, sea, and the occasional fin of an orca. What they don’t expect, at least if this is their first trip to Alaska, is a lone trumpeter playing “O, Canada” and “The Star Spangled Banner”.
But that’s what greets them as the ship nears Cormorant Island and the self-appointed “Ambassador-At-Large” motors alongside. Jerry Higginson keeps track of cruise ship schedules. He knows when they’ll pass near his hometown of Alert Bay.
He has a simple mission, to put smiles on the faces of cruise ship passengers who sail past his Alert Bay home. The Vancouver Island native knows the haunting sound of a trumpet, wafting across the water, takes people by surprise.
The day we cruised the Strait, Higginson followed up the two national anthems with a couple of other favorites: “When the Saints Go Marching In” and “Amazing Grace”. His simple gesture was one of the highlights of the trip.
On the trumpeter’s simple Web site, where most pages appear to be permanently “coming soon…”, Higginson writes: “Your cheers and the feelings of camaraderie that I get when I am playing my trumpet for you are reward enough for me because that gives me such a feeling of love and happiness.”
Still, a guy’s got to pay the bills. So if the quirkiness and fun of a man on a mission intrigues you, drop by Alert Bay Trumpeter. Buy a CD or DVD or drop five bucks in his Pay Pal account.
It’s a small way of saying “Bravo” to a man who follows the beat of his own drum…er, trumpet, particularly one who spreads so many smiles.