GREENFIELD PLANTATION — Don’t let his size fool you. At just 4-foot-11, Christian Wayman is undoubtedly one of the shortest members of Braden River High School’s marching band. However, the sound that comes out of his trumpet is anything but small.
Wayman showcased his skills during the band’s first home performance Sept. 4, performing as part of the octet featured in the halftime show, “Spanish Fantasy.”
However, although the game was many Pirate fans’ introduction to the 14-year-old prodigy, Wayman has impressed music aficionados throughout the state ever since he picked up the instrument just three years ago.
In September 2007, Wayman became the only middle school trumpet player in Manatee, Sarasota and Charlotte counties to earn a spot in the All-State band. In January, Wayman performed in Nashville, representing his church, First Church of the Nazarene in Bradenton — in a Nazarene denomination competition. Just four months later, he auditioned for and earned a spot in the Sarasota Orchestra’s Youth Philharmonic.
And most recently, Wayman has joined the ranks of some of the area’s top musicians, performing with the 18-piece George Carroll Big Band at The Meadows Village Pub in July and August.
“They were really good,” Wayman said of the big band. “They were playing so high that it made my ears hurt. It definitely was a fun experience, and they’re really good at teaching me stuff.”
Wayman impressed the audience and his bandmates with his ability to sight-read the material.
“He is only 14 years old and has never laid eyes on any of George’s music but played it like a pro,” said his mom, Vicki Hofferbert.
Carroll said he’s taken Wayman under his wing and hopes to cultivate the budding musician.
“This kid is a real phenomenon,” he said. “He’s really authentic in what he plays, and he’s definitely going places.”
Wayman discovered the trumpet — quite literally — through his stepfather, Cliff Hofferbert.
“I found two trumpets in the closet when I was in the sixth grade, and I just started to fiddle around with those,” Wayman said. “The trumpet just seemed to be the easiest instrument to play.”
Wayman cites trumpet greats such as Doc Severinsen, Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis among his influences and said he enjoys listening to rock, jazz and blues.
“He’s an old soul,” Vicki Hofferbert said.
Now that he’s hit high school, Wayman’s music career is busier than ever. He practices with the marching band every Tuesday and Friday for its Friday halftime shows and weekend competitions. The Youth Philharmonic rehearses Mondays for its concert schedule. Furthermore, Wayman will continue performing with the George Carroll Big Band as well as taking private lessons from teacher Victor Mongillo.
But, the honor student said he’s up for the challenge — as long as he can play music.
“I don’t get nervous,” Wayman said of performing. “I play best in front of an audience.”
Contact Michael Eng at [email protected].
George Carroll Big Band
WHEN: 6-9 p.m., Sept. 29. Dinner begins at 6 p.m.; concert at 7 p.m. Reservations required.
WHERE: The Meadows Village Pub, 5013 Ringwood Meadows