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Karl Putz (retired headmaster):
Homage to Adolf Scherbaum celebrating his 90th birthday on Nov. 21, 1999

"Adhering faithfully to the old,
Yet welcoming the new and manifold,
Will give you joys untold".

This is what the poet Emanuel Geibel wrote in his "Autumn Leaves" nearly 120 years ago, and this is what I have selected as a befitting motto for this celebration.

Ladies and gentlemen, dear guests of honor.

Adolf Scherbaum lived up to this motto because he was dedicated to tradition but at the same time he also welcomed innovation once he was convinced of its value.

It is a pity that he cannot attend in person, today. I will therefore attempt to show you the private side of this world-famous trumpeter.

Thirty years ago I had no idea who he was. I got in touch with him merely through the municipal music school and its director, Mr. Oswald Heimbucher. Despite our age difference , a close relationship developed between the two of us almost effortlessly, based on many things we had in common, such as the same place of birth (Eger), the same native dialect, common memories of the mundane city of Prague where we both spent a number of years, he as a student of trumpet playing, I as a student of the teaching profession (although at a later point in time and for a shorter period ).

When he started teaching in our town in 1977, it was a lucky coincidence that a new school building had been erected in Diesel-Street where he could practice with his, shall we say, none-too-silent instruments without disturbing anyone. In addition, it was a special honor when Adolf Scherbaum came to inaugurate this school on November 18, 1977, accompanied by the local chamber orchestra conducted by Oswald Heimbucher.

The county president at that time, Dr. Raß, couldn't believe his good luck of being able to see him in the school's auditorium at close range. On this occasion, I expressed my gratitude to both of them, Scherbaum for his playing, and Dr.Raß for having heeded my plea for an auditorium with a stage, which was the first of its kind in 1977.

Our daily routine then looked somewhat like this: weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon the trumpet class had the stage. There were many pupils from various different age groups and from many different types of schools, not exactly what you would call music students. This was a new situation for Adolf Scherbaum who had to adapt quickly, because many prerequisites were lacking with many a pupil.

Since my headmaster's office was next to his premises, Scherbaum often dropped in during the short intermissions and told me about his problems or about the progress his pupils were making. Quite often I was the acoustic witness when a difficult passage was finally mastered. One of Scherbaum's most used phrases was :" I've got to return to my boys". He usually taught several of them simultaneously and they would even practice marching through the hallways while holding the trumpet's mouthpieces pressed against their lips, just to strengthen their stamina and breathing technique.

I have fond memories of the Scherbaum period which lasted from 1977 to 1986. I also remember his pupils, of which just a few will be named to represent the others: Richard Feyer, Josef Kneißl, Helmut Mörtl, Hans Haas, Udo Schötz, Bernd Heinz, Johannes Mühldorfer,...they all were his 'boys'. Only you, Mr. Bayer , you were the exception, you didn't belong to the 'boys', because you were respected as the professional grammar school teacher which you were, and Scherbaum truly appreciated the fact that a professional like you attended his class.

Some of you kept in contact with him and never let this bond weaken. Even though you turned to other professions, you never lost your love for music and held on to your instrument, the trumpet. Tonight, at 8 p.m., there will be the chance of listening to these trumpets which will be played at the parish church St.Mary's to honor Adolf Scherbaum.

There is one more 'boy' whom I have to mention, Matthias Schäfer. He was scarcely 5 years old when he kept listening with sparkling eyes behind the slightly opened door of the trumpet class. Thus it was unavoidable that Scherbaum noticed him one day. When his parents asked Scherbaum whether he would be able to teach a pre-school child, it was a challenge for him, because he had never thought of that. Intuitively he agreed because the boy had some prerequisites which promised feasibility, namely enthusiasm and a physique which enabled him to hold a trumpet for an appreciable amount of time to his lips.
Today, this Matthias Schäfer is a professional concert-trumpeter who has earned quite a fine reputation and has played in the renowned 'Music-College' of Würzburg (Bavaria), a foundation of the former royal bishop's court, as well in the famous 'Brass Consortium of Würzburg' (another clerical foundation) and in Würzburg's royal residence church on their highly reputed 'music days' . Should we ask Matthias Schäfer today, he would say without hesitation: "Today I will play solely for my teacher".

The old pedagogic motto ' teaching is more akin to sowing than it is to harvesting' is still valid and certainly applies to Scherbaum. But today he could reap a good deal of the harvest, if he was able to attend. And I can just imagine how proud he would be of his former 'boys', if he could see and hear them.

The congratulations of his former students as well as those from all of us are also intended as a big 'thank you' for his effort as a former teacher at the municipal music school of Sulzbach-Rosenberg.

The official festival address that was printed 20 years ago when Adolf Scherbaum was awarded the culture prize of the town contains a quotation from his reply, of which I merely read the last sentence: "I wow for this town, Sulzbach-Rosenberg, where I love to stay and which taken the place of my home town. Here is where I feel at home, within these protective walls, among its inhabitants, many of whom have meanwhile become my personal friends.

Ad multos annos, dear Adolf!

Thank you!

I am grateful to Mr. Rolf Ziegler, Böblingen, for his translation into English.