This band helped turn up the Heat

 

Tell us your story

HistoryMiami invites you to share your Miami Story.

To submit: Submit your story and photo(s) at www.HistoryMiami.org. Your story may be posted at MiamiHerald.com/miamistories, published in Sunday’s Neighbors print edition and archived at HistoryMiami.org.

About Miami Stories: This project is a partnership between HistoryMiami, Miami Herald Media Company, WLRN and Michael Weiser, chairman of the National Conference on Citizenship.


Special to the Miami Herald

I played for the Miami Heat for their first three seasons. Yet not one Heat fan knows my name, although they may recognize my face.

It was spring of 1988, and I was the music director on Norwegian Cruise Line’s MS Southward.

I have been a newspaper junkie since my days as a paperboy in my hometown of Knoxville, Tenn., and Sundays were our “Miami Day” – time to load up with a new crop of passengers, and my chance to grab a Sunday Miami Herald. I read with great interest the article outlining the NBA’s approval of a new team for the Miami market.

I was on my fourth year of working on ships, and starting to crave a “real” life. This was my chance to make a move. And as luck would have it, my ship contract was coming to an end. I contacted the Heat front office . For weeks, I kept calling – and I finally convinced them the team would probably not be very competitive the first season, and they needed a band to keep the fans entertained.

They finally relented and set up an audition, as they said several other bands had contacted them. The window of opportunity was open, but the rest of my band was on board the Southward, in the midst of a four-month contract. I had to act fast – the audition was four days away. Luckily, I ran into several great musicians playing at Bayside Marketplace. I told them about the opportunity, ran back to my new apartment on Collins and 29th Street, and spent the next two days furiously writing arrangements.

I rented a rehearsal studio, we got four songs under our belt (“25 or 6 to 4,” “The Heat is On,” “Wipeout,” and “I Feel Good”). We arrived at the mostly-finished pink Miami Arena, and won the audition! That first Heat Band consisted of Gary Mayone (keyboards), Rey Sanchez (guitar), Jim Kessler (bass), Ed Smart (saxes), Kelly Milan (trombone), and me on trumpet. Most of those guys are still around, enjoying successful freelance careers.

It was a great introduction to Miami, and I relished every moment of the first three seasons.

If you don’t remember, those were heady times for basketball: Michael Jordan was in his prime, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson were winding down, and Charles Barkley was as entertaining then as he still is. The band had a dressing room right near the players that we shared with Burnie, the Heat’s mascot, so interaction was easy.

Twenty-three years later, my band is still active, I am back in the cruise industry, and my wife Juliet and I have raised three children – Celia, Emma, and Given in this wonderful city now called home.

The Sumans currently reside in Miami Shores, and still root for the Heat, even though I am sure I am the only trumpet player released by a major sports team!

Read more Miami Stories stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
 <span class="cutline_leadin">Miami Beach landmark:</span> The Wolfie’s Sandwich Shop at Lincoln Road and Collins Avenue.

    Miami Stories

    My dreams came true in Miami Beach

    You can probably imagine my reaction as a 9-year-old from Winston-Salem, N.C. after seeing Miami Beach for the first time in 1947. My parents brought my younger brother and me down from North Carolina to escape a polio epidemic running through the South that summer. Miami Beach was the first big city I had ever seen. I was mesmerized.

  •  
The author with her parents in front of Louber Villa.

    Miami Stories

    Fond 1960s memories of Louber Villa, a Jewish-owned hotel in Palm Beach

    My formative childhood years were spent in an Irish-Italian neighborhood in Brooklyn, N.Y.

  •  
 <span class="cutline_leadin">B-17 DUTY:</span> Stuart G. Newman, now 91, manipulates a target locator aboard a vintage B-17. His last mission on a B-17 was in 1945 over Europe.

    Miami Stories

    For 89 years, a charmed life in Miami

    In 1925, my parents and I disembarked in Miami after a three-day train trip from Chicago, and went to stay at a cottage surrounded by a grapefruit grove that belonged to my mother’s aunt. I was three years old, and it marked the beginning of my nearly nine-decade-long adventure in South Florida.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category