had a similar attendance record until 1941 when in August, batting over a phenomenal .450, an eye infection affected his performance and he finally had to go on the disabled list (ending the season at .361). But Vacchiano’s attendance over such a span must be unprecedented and unequalled since his time.
One other statistic – one that must be a mark of his dedication to music: Soon after joining the Philharmonic, Vacchiano joined the faculty of Julliard, where he taught trumpet for an astounding 67 years – another record not likely to be matched. At one time he had at least one student in nearly every significant symphony orchestra in the country. One of his students commented that “we all wanted to play like him.”
Just as DiMaggio, in my ballgame-going years, soon had a rival for my admiration in the younger Ted Williams, the brilliant star of the Boston Red Sox, so, in my trumpet playing days, Vacchiano soon had a rival for my admiration in the younger Roger Voisin, the brilliant trumpeter of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Voisin joined the BSO the same year that Vacchiano joined the NYPO – 1935. But Voisin was a wunderkind. He was born in 1918 (the year Williams was born) while Vacchiano was born in 1912 (not much older than DiMaggio). When Voisin was auditioned he was only 16! – by far the youngest player ever to join the BSO. He had the advantage – and the disadvantage – that his father, René, was in the orchestra; he was fourth trumpet. According to legend, young Voisin was heard playing at a high school by another BSO member, who urged the orchestra to audition him, despite the doubts of the father. (“Roger, you don’t know anything yet.” “I know, Papa.”) At the audition the conductor Serge Koussevitsky looked on warily at the excitement of the Boston Pops conductor Arthur Fiedler. Finally, Koussevitsky, testing Fiedler, asked him whether he would be willing to hire young Voisin right away for the Pops’ summer season. Fiedler said yes. Voisin was then hired as the BSO third trumpet assisting the principal and was soon principal trumpet of the Pops.