Memorial Service Beginning of Service

Shared by Allan Dellinger on 18th July 2014

Memories of My First Music Teacher

Shared by David Stewart on 10th July 2014

I registered for choir in 1978. Never been in a choir and no formal singing experience. It was the year that Mr. Dellinger stated was the largest class he has ever had to audition. There was no way to excuse all of those 12-14 year olds for a private auditionl. So in front of the entire class, Dean went from row by row, asking one person at a time to state their name and musical range. There were only 4 boys including me auditioning. All I heard from girl to girl was, "soprano,...soprano,...alto,...soprano, etc." So when it was my turn, I blurted out, "Soprano!" Mr. Dellinger didn't laugh or snicker. He just had this beaming smile on his face. In that distinct, commanding voice of his, he asked me to follow the piano while he played various major scales in various pitches. Eventually he figured out that I was in fact,...a baritone.

Although he was only 49 years old at the time (then he seemed 60's to me) he didn't put us down for the music style that we were interested in. He was always encouraging our musical development. In fact, he even allowed me to back up the choir playing guitar for the song, "Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again" by The Fortunes. At least he let us sing a song from that same decade.

Due to this mutual respect for music, we sort of started appreciating Mr. Dellinger's  jazz background. One day, Dean decided to introduce us to improvisational singing, called "scat." As he played a standard jazz I-IV-V progression, he allowed anyone from class to come up and try to scat a solo. Like always, he was so encouraging. We all had fun and never felt like we were being judged or made fun of no matter how silly or nonsensical our phrasing was. 

About 4 years later, I saw Dean play in a jazz quartet with my then High School Jazz Band instructor, JIm Gibford. I didn't hone my jazz playing skills until college. But if I had that ability sooner, I would have loved to sit in with Dean just to play some Joe Pass riffs and Tommy Tedesco fills. 

I can only imagine how much Mr. Dellinger enriched those lives of those around him. He was a safe room in those insecure awkward years of middle school. He was such a positive roll model. I will always be able to hear his voice in my head. Nobody else could use that voice to command the attention of such a large class with a limited attention span. I am so proud to call him my first music teacher. And what a great first music teacher to have learned from.


"You Rat"

Shared by David Parrott on 9th July 2014

One of my fondest nicknames was unceremoniously bestowed upon me by Dean:  He called me "You Rat".  Though, by no means, does it seems like a name that ought to be cherished.... But it, and the the story behind it, is.  

I have been lucky enough to be employed at Mt. San Jacinto College in the Music Department for nearly 20 years.  Before I was employed there, I was a student... and Dean was my music instuctor.  As a trumpet player, Dean taught me the finer points of brass playing:  Saxes are always out of tune, so always blame them; clarinet players can't hold a beat to save their lives; trombone players are always "almost" as good as trumpet players (at least they're brass players); etc. etc... the finer points of being a musician.  I also played trumpet with Dean in the college's Golden Eagles Big Bands.  Thus, he and I formed a wonderful relationship.

While working at in the Music Department one morning, I decided I should go in to the orchestra room and say good morning to Dean before his first student of the day arrived.  When I walked in, Dean was nowhere to be seen... but there, sitting alone on its stand was his cherished Bach Stradivarius trumpet.  That horn was practically everything to him... and it called my name.  It said, "Dave... use me to play a joke on Dean."  Well, that's kind of a low-blow thing to do to a fellow (highly respected) trumpet player.  But, he broke rule number-one:  Never, ever leave your trumpet unattended (a sax player might think it's some type of vacuum... or something).  "Dean should know better", was my rational as I quickly went back to my office and grabbed a soda straw from my desk (why I had a straw in my desk, I can't remember... it may have been a plan to use it to protect myself from Ted Herman...).

Anyhow, I took that straw back to Dean's trumpet.  I removed his mouthpiece, stuck the straw into the end of the mouthpiece and fed it down into the trumpet’s lead-pipe.  From the outside, it looked like absolutely nothing was wrong… which was exactly how it should be! However, the next time that trumpet would be played, it would sound like a goat... with a nasty lung infection.

Now… what I expected to happen was this:  Dean would return from where-ever it was he went, grab his trumpet and blow a few notes through it, hear the horrible sound, pull out his mouthpiece and find the straw.  Knowing Dean, he’d know it was me and get a good chuckle out of it.

Here’s what happened instead:

Dean returned from the mailroom.  But, unfortunately for my plan, his first student (a trumpet player) had arrived early.  Thus, Dean did not pick up his horn right away.  Instead, he began the morning’s lesson with the student.  That particular morning’s lesson?  “Tone… How to Produce a Large Round Sound with Your Trumpet.”

About 10 minutes into the lesson, Dean was attempting to tell the student how to open up the mouth, lowering the lip’s armature, and using the lung’s diaphragm to push a large amount of air past the lips and through the horn to produce a fat sound.  His attempt to verbally explain to the student what he (Dean) was looking for didn’t go over well.  So, instead, Dean grabbed his horn, showed the student the placement of his lips on the mouthpiece and how to open the jaw for the fat sound he was looking for.  Dean took in a deep breath… and blew.  The sound that came out was anything but that nice round sound of a professional trumpet player.  Rather, it sounded much more like a goose in the midst of a cat fight. 

Surprised and embarrassed, Dean quickly said, “I’m sorry.  Let me try that again.”  He blew… and the cattle in the ranch across the road from the college began to answer back at him.

Flustered, Dean did what any good trumpet player would do in a situation like that:  he blamed the problem on the horn and began to disassemble the valves... while the student waited.  As each valve came out, he could see they were in their correct order and not turned around.  So, he put them back and gave it another blow, “Squaaaaaakkkthpthpthpthp….”  Out came the valves again.  Nope, everything is in order there.  It must be the slides.  So, he took out the tuning slide, the third-valve slide, the second valve slide and even the first.  All the while, this poor student was trying to figure out if Dean was actually a sax player incognito.

Upon examination, each slide showed there was nothing blocking the flow of air through the horn, so Dean put his trumpet back together.  One more try:  “haaaaaaooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaammmm”.  Well, needless to say, Dean was now getting honestly upset and confused (which… from a sax player’s point-of-view, this is the state-of-mind of all trumpet players!).  Finally, he thought maybe the problem was within the mouthpiece.  So, he twisted the mouthpiece and slowly pulled it out of the lead pipe.  Much to his surprise, out came the straw!  He told me later it was at that moment as he was saying out loud, “What the heck?”,  a little bell went off inside his head:  Dave Parrott.  What the student heard was, “What the hhhh… ooohhh that Rat!”

Dean removed the straw, replaced the mouthpiece, puckered up and blew:  A warm melodious tone filled the room.  In the end, 10 of the 20 minutes of the poor young trumpet student’s lesson time had been used to figure out that Dean had been pranked.  Later, when the lesson was over, Dean grabbed an index card, wrote “You Rat” with a red felt-tip pen on it, and tape that straw to  the card.  He left the card and straw on my desk while I was out running an errand.  When I returned, he told me his side of the story and we laughed until we cried.  Several years afterwards, Dean would still pop into my office and say, “You Rat!”.  It became his endearing way to say how much he appreciated our relationship.

Here it is, twenty years later, and that card is still displayed above my desk.  I use it to remind me of the many wonderful times I had with Dean in my life… and I still laugh when I think about how I became known as “The Rat”.

It’s the most endearing nickname I’ve ever had…

David Parrott, Department Chair, Audio & Video Technology Department, Mt. San Jacinto College

Grace Lutheran Church Caroling to Dean Dellinger in 2013

Shared by Diane Kline on 8th July 2014

This is the year we came to do Christmas Caroling to Dean.  We missed not having him with us as we caroled but we loved caroling to him and his friends at Leisure Point.

A Gathering of Carolers

Shared by Diane Kline on 8th July 2014

This is a picture of the last year Dean caroled with Grace Lutheran Church, his family.  After that, we caroled to him.  We loved our Dean.

Shared by Debbie Schwartz on 25th June 2014

What a wonderful man God created in Dean Dellinger!! His legacy lives on in our hearts.  He always had a smile on his face.  He played his trumpet in church with Allan and it was enjoyed so much by everyone!  What a blessing! He so loved his music. He always had nice things to say about our choir at Grace.  Coming from such a pro, it was always a huge compliment. He would say to me, "Wow, how do you get such a great sound out of so few people?"  I would just reply, "It's God!" 

I feel so blessed just having known him.  I'm being selfish when I say, I wish he wouldn't have left this world so soon, but now Dean is playing with the heavenly band and choir. 

He was very much cherished by his family and friends!  Seeing the love that his family had for him was a blessing.

May God continue to bless us with the memories of Dean!

Memories of My Daddy

Shared by Becky Huskey on 24th June 2014

My Dearest Daddy,

How can I thank you for all that you gave me through the years. My childhood memories are filled with loving guidance. But, I think it's the adulthood memories I treasure the most. I never planned to follow in your footsteps, but here I am starting my 34th year of teaching music. How amazing that you taught our youth for 33 years, but it was the next 20 years that impressed me the most. I have always felt so happy for you that you were blessed to have 20 extra years teaching the college Jazz Bands. They were such amazing musicians and I know you enjoyed every minute of directing and performing with such professionals.

Music was such a wonderful bond for us. I could call you and get advice to any teaching question or problem I had. My students were even lucky enough to get to work with you. I'm so grateful that you would offer workshops for my kids when you and Mom would come up for visits. But most of all, I loved the times we would play JAZZ together. This was always a thrill for me.

But Daddy, it was the Grandpa days that were also so special. You and Mom would always make sure that you spent equal time with all of our families. Even when that meant you and Momma had to drive all the way to our ranch in Northern California. I remember when Kenny was only 4 and you helped him build the biggest snowman, in our only snowfall of that decade. You loved the horses. I remember riding our horses together every morning a few miles down the road so I could breed my mare. You were so amazed! Then we'd ride back home until the next morning when we'd repeat the venture. You enjoyed sharing this story for years. I even remember coming home from work, and you had washed every window in our house until they sparkled. 
Of course, I could go on forever. Your gifts were so many to all your friends and family. Daddy, thank you. I'll always love and miss you so.

Your Youngest, Bec 

Share a Story

Illustrate your story with a picture, music or video (optional):