Another Norman Leyden Story….Norman Leyden at the Basketball Game!

A Joy Jumper Moment!
Seeing the show in person is more fun that peeking in the window.

Saying thank you to someone that makes your day beautiful never goes to waste. When Norman Leyden called the other day, I knew I had experienced one of the great thrills of a lifetime. Here’s what I mean:

I contacted a friend of mine in eastern Oregon yesterday with an email about the blog. She is a reader of mine. She read that editorial/rant and then continued on down to the story about Norman Leyden. She responded with this story about him:

Here is a story you are not going to believe. It is about the last time I saw Norman Leyden in person. I used to have season symphony tickets when I lived in Portland, and sometimes he would conduct — especially a Pops concert. But the last time I saw him was the best of all.
We were at a Trailblazer game in the Memorial Coliseum, and we had all been issued kazoos as we entered the building. Most people didn’t know how to work a kazoo, so it was very amusing to watch all of these basketball fans trying to blow on their kazoos rather than humming into them and listening to them vibrate. Before the game started, we were all taking turns teaching each other to hum into a kazoo. It really was hilarious.
The game commenced, the kazoos went into purses and pockets, and we forgot about them altogether. And then halftime arrived, and we were asked not to leave our seats. The lights went down, a single spotlight illuminated center court where a small elevated platform had mysteriously appeared, and Norman Leyden stepped into the spotlight. After the wondering audience applauded, Mr. Leyden asked us to take out our kazoos and gave us a few instructions and humming lessons. Then he divided us up into four orchestral groups, turned to group 1, raised his baton, and we began humming “Let Me Call You Sweetheart.” The whole 12,000 of us were humming while Norman Leyden directed. It brings tears to my eyes even now because it was just so wonderful. Here was this rowdy crowd who had no idea this was going to happen, and we were absolutely tamed and “brought forth” by this wonderful man and his sweet idea. When we were finished “playing,” the audience applauded and he started to bow and step down. That is when everyone began to SING the song. So he stepped back up and directed us. When we finished, the kazoos came out again, and he had no choice but to continue to lead us.
When the lights came back up, halftime was over, the basketball players had quietly returned to the benches, and everyone was just so very mellow. It was incredible.
I still have my little round white Humazoo kazoo. I will keep it forever.

Don’t you just want to jump up and down with joy sometimes? I do almost every day. This was my ‘joy jumper’ moment today!


Thank you Norah Ann…it seems I follow you around a lot. I am so glad that I am getting to experience the things you did as a young person. It is so much fun.


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