On a sunny May morning, Freddie Jones strode to the 40 yard line at Farrington Field, raised his trumpet, and played the national anthem as he always does – pure, confident, and so strong that even the “land of the free” high note near the end seemed effortless.
Mr. Jones has had a lot of practice. The renowned jazz trumpeter has performed “The Star Spangled Banner” at every Dallas Cowboys home game since 2013. But at Farrington Field, instead of the anthem’s final note segueing to thunderous applause and cheers, there was silence. On this May morning, Freddie Jones drove all the way from his home in Carrollton to play to an empty stadium. And, he said he was honored to do so.
It was a performance videoed by the District’s EdTV team for Fort Worth ISD’s Class of 2020 virtual graduations. Mr. Jones’ anthem solo will kick off the seniors’ virtual ceremonies on Saturday, June 20.
“In this pandemic, these seniors are not getting to do all the special things that are supposed to happen your senior year,” Mr. Jones said. “And, I have a direct connection to many of these students, so the honor was mine.”
That connection Mr. Jones referenced was made through Trumpets for Kids, an organization he founded almost 10 years ago. Trumpets for Kids, with a grant from the Fort Worth Arts Council, gives away trumpets to students across North Texas each year. This past year, six trumpets went to students at North Side High School and J.P. Elder Middle School.
Mr. Jones, a graduate of the University of North Texas with a degree in jazz studies, also holds free clinics for students, and he takes them to perform with him at hospitals, detention centers, and other locations where he feels music is especially needed.
“Music has answered the call for people throughout history, in good times and bad,” Mr. Jones said. “And, for me as a musician, sharing that gift is seriously important – now, more than ever.”