Sound the trumpets: Winnacunnet alum returns for concert

If you are looking for an afternoon of entertainment and good music, check out “From Stardust to Penny Lane” featuring trumpeter Jay Daly on Sunday, Nov. 24, at 3 p.m. at Winnacunnet High School.

Daly graduated from Winnacunnet in 1975 and has been part of the music industry since.

“I got the music bug when I started working with a funeral home to play taps [on the trumpet],” he said.

“They’d hire me to go into the cemetery and play, and it was an emotional tune. And they were paying me for it!”

Being able to connect to people through music made Daly want to continue playing the trumpet.

After taking lessons and being part of the music program at school, Daly attended the University of New Hampshire and studied music education.

“My [band] director said it was tough to make it to the business, so [he advised] me to get my music education degree and put it in my back pocket. You can always fall back on teaching,” he said.

Daly ended up using his degree as a middle school band director in Merrimack for three years.

While he was teaching, he still wanted to play the trumpet and eventually began to pursue a career as a musician full-time.

He has performed with the Seacoast Big Band and the Artie Shaw Orchestra, and has also been a part of many theaters and pit orchestras.

He worked with The Book of Mormon in Hartford, Conn., and most recently did a two-week run with the musical The Bodyguard in Boston.

“I’m a freelancer and pick up work, and I hope it’s good and plentiful. I’m not a soloist that often, so this concert is kind of special,” Daly said.

Daly was approached for this upcoming concert at Winnacunnet by the church he was a part of growing up.

The Hampton United Methodist Church was looking into ways to raise money for the church and families in need, and contacted Daly about doing the concert.

Daly had the freedom to decide what he wanted to do for the show, and decided on a tribute to five decades of music.

“This is all the trumpet solos that were [in popular music] from the 1920s through the 1980s.

It’s a whole medley of tunes that … will be nostalgic for anyone who wants to go back and remember it, and there will be a whole group of people who haven’t heard this music and it won’t be familiar,” he said.

“I’ve always wanted to play at my alma mater, and now I’m back at my high school and the concert is being produced by my hometown church.”

There will be plenty of famous solos performed by Daly at the concert, backed up by the Seacoast Big Band.

“Stardust” by Hoagy Charmichael and “Penny Lane” by The Beatles (which features a trumpet solo) are the title tracks of the concert.

Daly also plans on performing “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong and the theme song from the Rocky series by Maynard Ferguson.

There will be many other songs featured as well for guests to enjoy.

“Everyone kind of enters a musicaltime capsule, where they walk in andare transported to another era.

It’s so important to have culture and arts and creativity in life,” Daly said.

The concert will also have a special meaning to him.

Not only did he graduate from Winnacunnet High School, but his late younger brother also attended high school there.

His mother was the secretary at the school for more than 20 years.

“I’m dedicating this concert for their memories, and it’s special that I get to make a dedication,” he said.

Daly has unique ties to the Seacoast Scene.

His father, Jack, founded the newspaper and owned it for 40 years before selling it to Hippo Press.

“My dad would tell me to just take it over for him, but I’m a trumpet player!” Daly said.

“From Stardust to Penny Lane” starts at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 24, and will take place at the Winnacunnet High School Auditorium in Hampton.

General admission tickets are $30, while tickets for seniors 65 years and older and youth 18 and under are $25.

Tickets can be purchased ahead of time on BrownPaperTickets.com and will be available at the door for $35, cash or check only.

— Danielle Roberts

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