Early start in Monongahela directed Frederick to music
To say music and entertaining have been a way of life for Paul Frederick would be a major understatement.
The Monongahela native has been involved with and devoted to those passions for well over 50 years.
“I began taking lessons with Paul Dolinar, who was our teacher at Waverly Elementary School,” said Frederick, 66, a longtime resident of Sandy, Utah, a busy suburb of Salt Lake City with a population of 87,500.
“Paul started me on trumpet and later got me to play euphonium when he discovered I was hopeless as a trumpet player. We keep in touch on a regular basis and still laugh about my inauspicious beginning.”
They also talk about Frederick's formal and successful music career that began with the U.S. Air Force Band in 1965. His dossier also includes studies at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he played bass trombone with the Berklee Recording Band under the direction of Herb Pomeroy and the Dues Band led by Phil Wilson. During his time in Boston Frederick had the opportunity to work with some of the biggest names in the music industry including touring with the Glenn Miller Orchestra directed by Buddy DeFranco, the Dorsey Brothers Orchestra led by Lee Castle and many others.
He has backed such entertainers as Tony Bennett, Lou Rawls, the Pointer Sisters, Andy Williams, Johnny Mathis and Bob Hope.
“My first gig after getting out of the military and coming back to Monongahela was working with Bobby Vinton at the Twin Coaches for two weeks in the summer of 1969,” Frederick, a 1965 graduate of Monongahela High School, recalled. “I joined the Glenn Miller Orchestra in January 1973, taking a break from school to do so. My first gig with the Miller band was at the Holiday House in Monroeville. After that engagement, we piled on a bus and hit the road for five months. There was no such thing as an audition then; the gig was the audition and you had to be able to cut it from the get-go.”
The tour with the Glenn Miller aggregation had Frederick working as vocalist and bass trombonist at performances in the United States, England and Wales. His work with the Dorsey Brothers Orchestra included concerts at Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh and the Roseland Ballroom in New York City. This was after touring with the Glenn Miller Orchestra.
Frederick, the son of the late Paul George Frederick Sr. and Anne McDonald Frederick, moved to Utah in 1976 and has continued to score distinctive chapters in his profession.
He works as a trombonist and euphonium player, keeps busy as a vocalist, and enjoys writing and arranging for numerous ensembles. He leads The Top Brass Quintet and is playing and arranging for a newly formed tuba quartet called Basses Loaded. Additional information about all of those assignments is available at Frederick's website, www.paulslivemusic.com.
Frederick made his first public appearance as a musician with the Monongahela Junior High School band.
“I was in seventh grade and played trumpet, next to the last chair, third part,” he said. “I was challenged by Ernie Smaile and he won, so I ended up in last chair of the B band.”
He also began playing trumpet at age 13 with the Monongahela Community Band.
“We performed in parades during the summer and rubbed shoulders with guys three times our age,” Frederick said. “I have fond memories of playing those summer parades as well as concerts at Chess Park.
It was great to receive encouragement from such seasoned musicians as Sam Bavuso, Henry Day, Ira Day, Howard Fawcett and our band leader, Rotillio Rotilli.
“We didn't always understand what (Rotilli) was saying but we knew he expected the best from us and he enjoyed having the kids in the band. We rehearsed every Thursday night at the Italian Citizens Club. I recently received a call from my good friend, Earl Bugaile, and we had a great time reminiscing about those good time with the Community Band and playing ‘Taps' on Memorial Day 50 years ago.”
Frederick and another friend, John Matthews, formed a pop band called The Midnighters when they were 15. Matthews, Ed Fleisher and George Gregory, who now lives in Park City, Utah, were the saxophonists; Dan Smith worked the trombone; Frederick and Chuck Pizzutelli played trumpet; Daryl Hodgson specialized on tuba, and Mark Peterson of Bethel Park set the pace with the drums.
Frederick also performed on occasion with a band led by Jay Chattaway, another Monongahela High graduate who has distinguished himself as an Emmy Award winning composer of film and television scores.
Heeding a suggestion by his high school music teacher, Paul Scandrol, Frederick began playing the trombone and entered the Air Force after graduating from Monongahela High.
“Paul (Scandrol) didn't believe I was ready for college and encouraged me to audition for the Air Force Band,” Frederick said. “The audition was held at Monessen High School because their band director, Julius D'Alfonso, was the brother of Captain Edward D'Alfonso, who was the leader of the Air Force Band. I had no intention of going into the military, so I was not stressed out during the audition. You can imagine my surprise when I received a notice about a month later and eventually found out that I was the only one accepted from the Monessen auditions to go into the service as a musician. Captain D'Alfonso was my first commander and I played in the Strategic Force Band based in Omaha, Neb., for three years.”
Frederick also auditioned at Morehead College in Kentucky and was offered a full scholarship on euphonium.
“Maybe it was what Paul Scandrol said about me not being ready for college, but I didn't take Morehead up on its offer,” he said. “Had I done that, my life might have gone in a completely different direction.”
Scandrol's advice notwithstanding, Frederick eventually did find college to his liking.
He took classes at Bellevue College in Nebraska during his service with the Air Force and majored in applied musical performance as he attended Berklee College of Music for six semesters starting in 1971. He graduated from Westminster College in Salt Lake City in 1986, earning a bachelor of science degree in nursing that led to a 25-year career as a psychiatric registered nurse. He also completed an online professional paralegal program in 1998 through the Professional Career Development Institute in Norcross, Ga.
“It's been a very interesting run, to say the least,” Frederick said of his careers in music and nursing.
Frederick and his wife, the former Evelyn Harker of Shelley, Idaho, will celebrate their 38th wedding anniversary in July.
“Shelley is a small town of about 2,000 and Evelyn was raised on a farm/ranch with her three brothers and three sisters,” Frederick said. “After riding horses, moving irrigation pipes, driving Caterpillars and picking potatoes, she moved on to Brigham Young University and earned a degree in pre-physical therapy. Her brothers still own the 990 acres where she grew up and it is only 230 miles from where we live in Sandy.”
The couple met in church in Boston during Frederick's second year there.
“I gave her and her roommate a ride home from services one Sunday,” Frederick said. “We found we had very different backgrounds but enjoyed each other's company. We dated for two years while she finished her college studies. We were married in July 1975 during her summer break and moved to California the week she finished school in December.”
The Fredericks are the parents of three children. Sarah Anne, 35, is a graduate of the University of Utah with a degree in chemical engineering and lives in Salt Lake City, where she works for an international company. Paul Jr., 33, has traveled extensively as a scuba diver, is a master diver and is working to become a diving instructor. William Scott, 31, works as a recreational therapist in a small residential facility for the mentally handicapped. He and Katherine Ottman will be married in October.
Both sons were musicians in public school, excelling in euphonium and bass clarinet. Their mother plays violin in the Murray Symphony and is a pianist at church.
Frederick's brother, Scott Frederick, lives in Carroll Township. He recently retired from the Ringgold School Distict after a teaching career that spanned four decades and a highly successful tenure of 35 years as track and field coach at Ringgold. They have a stepbrother, Frank (Kim) Ferren, who lives in Florida, and a half-brother, Bernard Furr, who makes his home in Hershey.
Frederick will return to his hometown this month for a reunion with Paul Dolinar and his band, Too Many Tubas. They will perform a 7 p.m. June 28 concert being held as part of the 150th anniversary of the Monongahela Cemetery. The event will be held at the cemetery.
“I'm looking forward to being there,” Frederick said. “Monongahela holds so many wonderful memories for me. One of the most valuable lessons I learned growing up in a small town is that because you know everyone and they know you, you tend to present yourself better. I was only 18 when I left home to join the Air Force but I have never forgotten the many friends and people who played such important roles in my life.”
Ron Paglia is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.