When asked by a Gazette reporter how long he’d been playing trombone, 4-year-old Diego Torres Trapini replied, “Fifty years.”
Actually, it’s been more like two, but the young son of Alex Torres, band leader of Alex Torres & His Latin Orchestra, already has “musician” written all over him.
Sunday night he played on stage with his dad and his brass orchestra during the final Music Haven Concert Series show of the summer at Central Park.
A large crowd settled on the lawn on the gorgeous evening with their folding chairs, dogs and picnics. But when the band began to play, many spectators gravitated toward the stage, kicking up gray dust as they salsaed and merengued to the infectious beat.
Ten minutes before show time, Diego showed his little-kid side, asking his mom, Annette Trapini, to bring him to the playground near the Music Haven stage. Once there, he ran straight to the section with the kid-friendly bongoes and chimes and began to bang out a tune.
“He said when the music starts, he’ll leave the playground,” Trapini said.
The mini trombone player also plays the trumpet. He’s already been in a handful of concerts with his dad’s band, and practices every day, Trapini noted.
“If he’s in trouble, we take away his trumpet,” she said.
Karen Trapini, Diego’s grandmother, was all smiles as she spoke of her musical grandson.
“Before he could speak he was really into music. He tried to make instruments out of anything,” she said.
Looking hip in his white-rimmed sunglasses and blue-and-white fedora, the little guy explained what he does up on stage: “I can end solos easily. All you do is hit the high note and then the low note,” he said. “It’s like the music, like, jams your ears up a little bit so I’m going to have to take the whole band down with the high notes.”
Diego was slated to be featured on stage for a song or two during Sunday’s concert.
“He would be up there the whole time if we let him,” his mother remarked with a wry smile.
To pass the time until his moment in the spotlight, he did a little dancing by the stage, right in the thick of the pack of salsaing adults.
At the end of each song, he returned to his lawn chair and strapped the canvas bag containing his blue, plastic pBone Trombone on his back and wandered hopefully toward the band.
Finally, as the second set of the show began, he walked out on stage, trombone in hand.
“Ladies and gentleman, that’s my son,” Torres announced proudly, as Diego belted out an extended solo that had the crowd cheering and gathering around the stage.
The 4-year-old played with complete confidence and at least 50 years worth of soul, and didn’t stop until the band’s grown-up trombone player gently instructed him to take a bow.