Local musician chronicles career

Published 3:17 pm Thursday, November 15, 2012

Musicain Michael Lingo speaks to the Alabaster-Pelham Rotary Club during a Nov. 15 lunch at Shelby Baptist Medical Center. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Local musician Michael Lingo has played everywhere from an Engelbert Humperdinck concert to the Broadway in Birmingham production of “Wicked” during his long tenure playing trombone, he told the Alabaster-Pelham Rotary Club during a Nov. 15 lunch.

During the lunch, Lingo chronicled his musical journey from the first time he picked up a trombone at Dixie Junior High School to his current involvement with the Samford University-based Superjazz performing group.

After he became a trombone player at Dixie Junior High and Minor High School, Lingo, who now lives in McCalla, graduated from the University of Montevallo and the University of Alabama.

Lingo said his performing career took off after he received a call a few years ago asking him to play at an O’Jays concert in Atlanta the next day. A few days after the O’Jays concert, Lingo was invited to play at a Temptations concert in Kentucky and then a Four Tops concert in Mobile.

Over the years, Lingo has performed with the Birmingham Symphony Youth Orchestra and the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, served as the band director at Jess Lanier High School and has been a member of the Red Mountain Chamber Orchestra.

“For a time, there were traveling groups that would come through and hire a local backup band,” Lingo said, noting it gave him an opportunity to play for the Bee Gees, Engelbert Humperdinck and Anita Bryant.

Today, Lingo plays with the Superjazz big band group, which holds performances at Samford University’s Brock Recital Hall.

The group will hold shows on Dec. 9, Feb. 17 and April 21. All shows begin at 3 p.m.

Superjazz performs several musical eras, such as jazz, big band and blues.

Lingo said Superjazz helps to maintain a part of Birmingham’s past musical culture.

“We feel we help to play a role in preserving the culture of our community,” Lingo said. “I never thought when I picked up a trombone at Dixie Junior High School that I would be able to do the things I’ve been able to do.”