Staff Sgt. James Beeson

by Kim Gamel
Stripes Korea

SEOUL, South Korea — An 8th Army Band member got to cross an exciting item off his bucket list thanks to a visit by the Philadelphia Orchestra — meeting his role model, world-renowned bass trombonist Blair Bollinger.

The orchestra invited Staff Sgt. James Beeson to meet Bollinger and attend a concert at the Seoul Arts Center Thursday after learning of his admiration for the musician.

“I told my wife it’s kind of bucket list-ish,” the 43-year-old trombone player said in an interview before the concert.

Beeson, of Bowling Green, Ohio, said the fact that one of the pieces to be performed at the concert was Beethoven’s 5th Symphony was icing on the cake.

“It was one of the first orchestral pieces I played in high school,” he said. “The chance to listen to one of the guys I admire most playing that is exciting.”

He smiled broadly as Bollinger, decked out in coat and tails, approached him for the backstage meeting as other musicians practiced around them.

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