Art Depew, Trumpet (1957-1965)
Part of Lawrence Welk's Famous Trumpet Backbone
Art Depew played the trumpet for the Lawrence Welk Show from 1957 to 1965. Joining him in this tight sounding trumpet section were fellow trumpeters Dick Cathcart, Rocky Rockwell and Norman Bailey. Together, they formed a trumpet section widely considered among the best of the era.
Depew was born in West Palm Beach, Florida in 1925 and attended Palm Beach High School. In 1943, he formed a 12-piece dance band and worked the Virginia and North Carolina beach resorts. World War II forced him to disband and migrate to New York where he joined his first name band, the Bob Chester Orchestra. The band went to Hollywood where they made a movie called Trocadero. While in California, Art was offered a radio job with Horace Heidt but soon after he enlisted in the Army spending his war years playing in the band at Walter Reed Hospital. After the war, he enrolled at Juilliard School of Music where he studied symphonic trumpet for more than three years.
Depew enjoyed the styles of some of the great trumpeters of the day like Ziggy Elman, Bunny Berigan, Cootie Williams and Charlie Shavers, but the style of Harry James was the one that intrigued him the most. So, Depew jumped at the chance to join the Harry James Band in 1965 when Pee-Wee and Sal Monte called him and asked him to front for the band.
In all, Depew played with 23 bands during his career before retiring. Depew passed away in July 2015 at the age of 90.