Dave Bamonte, ’81 is a highly-accomplished professional trumpet player. He’s worked with world-renowned conductors Leonard Bernstein, Zubin Mehta, Seiji Ozawa and John Williams while performing with the Israel Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Boston Pops and New York and Vienna Philharmonics. He’s a 1978 graduate of North Syracuse High School who built the foundation for his career at OCC.
Bamonte returned to campus earlier this semester as part of a Master Class workshop for Music majors. It was his first time on campus to perform since earning his degree and his first time seeing the Academic II building which is the home of the Music program. “This facility is amazing! When I was here we played in the Service and Maintenance Building my first year, and in the vacant Van Duyn building (now Mulroy Hall) my second year. It was a far cry from the resources students have today.”
Coming back to campus brought back memories of Bamonte’s time here. He remembered learning from and spending time with long-time Music professors Dr. Kevin Moore and his wife, Selma Moore. “Our conversations remain with me to this day. They had such an impact on me and my eventual success. They are wonderful people who always made time for students.”
The Moore’s influence and one song in particular changed everything for Bamonte. “When I heard Maynard Ferguson’s recording of Birdland I was so inspired. I knew right then playing a trumpet was what I wanted to do.”
Bamonte went from OCC to the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam, the New England Conservatory of Music and the Eastman School of Music. Today he is both a performer and a teacher, serving as Trumpet Professor at Portland State University and is also a member of the Oregon Symphony. He often thinks back on his humble beginnings at OCC and how its impact. “This place will always be special to me. The facilities we played in were not ideal but they were ours. It proves nothing can trump desire when it comes to achieving what you want to.”