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The Arts Foundation Of Olde Towne is a neighborhood based, Arts & Humanities incubator that serves to host and produce projects that are about, or initiated by residents from the Near East Area of the City Of Columbus, Ohio.

Robert Bobby Alston


Robert Bobby Alston
Birthplace: Columbus, Ohio
Instrument: trumpet
Description: Alston is another example of the enormous talent pouring forth from Columbus. He is the son of Norman Bunkey Alston, an accomplished musician. He vividly describes the origins of his first trumpet below. He is pictured in this portrait from the late 70s.


Grandfather Finds the Trumpet
"My grandfather had a place over in the American addition. He raised hogs."

"This was back, I guess, even before the Depression, probably in the 20s."


"One day he was coming home...he worked on the railroad, so the quickest way to come home from the railroa roundhouse was up north of Leonard, Twentieth Street & Leonard, off St. Clair, anyway, there was a quick way you could come home during those days, through the alleys."

"He was coming down the alley one day and he found this trumpet in a trash can and brought it home."


"He had six kids-three boys and three girls-so he told the boys that if any of them could play it they could have it. "


"So my Uncle Harvey tried it. He was the oldest, so he got the first shot at it, and he couldn't play it."


"Then Cord tried it, he was the second son, he couldn't play it."

"My father picked it up, and he could play it ... he could get a sound out of it. . So Grandpa gave it to him. And he never did put it down."


"He just kept on playing."


"Well, I'm a third generation trumpet player. When I was three years old my father gave me the horn, like his daddy gave it o him."


"I never put it down!"



Bobby Alston

as told to Arnett Howard
From the collection of: Bobby Alston

For a glossy print of this image refer to ID# ARC24-EX

©2000 A.F.O.O.T.