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Westland graduate sets school history with award
|Samuel Reynolds, Sr. and Samuel Reynolds, Jr. stand in the Westland High School’s music room. The Reynolds made school history when both, father and son, won the Louis Armstrong award.
Westland High School graduate Samuel Reynolds, Jr. shares a love for the trumpet with a long line of family members.
His passion earned him the Louis Armstrong award at Westland’s annual award ceremony on May 24.
His father, Samuel Reynolds, Sr., won the award in 1984. This is the first time in the high school’s history more than one family member received the award.
“It is a big accomplishment for me because ever since I was a little kid I’ve been seeing (the award) every day,” Reynolds, Jr. said.
The Louis Armstrong award was introduced nationally in 1974, with the consent of Armstrong’s widow after his death in 1971. The award honors an outstanding jazz musician at participating high schools, according to Instrumental Magazine.
Reynolds, Jr. started the trumpet when he was four years old. He listened to and mimicked jazz artist Maynard Ferguson and started reading music at age seven.
“We have a family full of trumpet players and musicians,” Reynolds, Jr. said. “Basically my dad had me play something that he would play. The first song that I learned was ‘Jesus Loves Me.’”
Reynolds, Jr. said he expressed concern to friends and family about not winning.
“My dad said, ‘I am proud of you no matter what,’” Reynolds, Jr. said. “I won it and about started crying. It was a good feeling … indescribable.”
Reynolds, Sr. said his son worked hard for the award all through high school, even while involved with other activities like wrestling, cross country and baseball.
“It was the one thing that always pushed him to do better,” Reynolds, Sr. said.
Reynolds, Jr. will attend Columbus State Community College this fall and plans to transfer to The Ohio State University (OSU) to study music. He will also continue his studies with the trumpet to possibly join the OSU Marching Band.
For Reynolds, Sr., music has been a hobby since he graduated from high school. He enjoys participating in the music program at Potter’s House Church of God.
“We are a big part of the music at Potter’s,” Reynolds, Sr. said. “I mostly play at church. It was mostly for the love of music that I played.”
Reynolds, Sr. was surprised when he won the Louis Armstrong award in 1984.
“There were so many good musicians back in school. I knew any of us could get it,” he said.
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