Lakewood Ranch Herald

Trumpet ‘whiz kid’ has grown-up sound

EAST MANATEE

He stands 4-foot-11 in his bare feet and weighs 81 pounds.

And sometimes he wakes up in the morning wheezing from asthma.

But when 14-year-old Christian Wayman picks up a trumpet in his living room and hits the first few notes of “Walls of Jericho,” you would swear there are train tracks in Greenfield Plantation and a locomotive is roaring through.

“He has a big sound for a little guy,” said Victor Mongillo, Christian’s trumpet coach of three years.

“We’re very proud of him,” Vicki Hofferbert said of her son. “He has a smaller stature. But we always told him that the measure of a man is his heart, not his size.”

Christian, who is heading for Kendall Carrier’s marching band at Braden River High School as a freshman in the fall after a successful band career with Daniel Boyd at Haile Middle School, has achieved a string of successes with his horn in a very short time.

In September, with only about two years of experience, Christian auditioned for All-State in Florida and made it. He was the only middle school trumpet player from Manatee, Sarasota and Charlotte counties to make all-state in trumpet, said Hofferbert.

In January, Christian performed at the Florida Music Educators Association’s All-State competition at the Tampa Bay Convention Center with 120 middle and high school students.

“They only picked 17 trumpet players out of the entire state and Christian placed ninth,” Hofferbert said.

Later in January, Christian competed in a contest through the family’s church, First Church of the Nazarene-Bradenton, in Lake Placid, and placed first in his category, which is brass.

Christian advanced to Nashville in April to compete against musicians from other Nazarene denomination churches in five other states and he came in first place again, his mother said.

“There were more than 3,000 students who competed in these different categories,” Hofferbert said. “He won a beautiful trophy for his accomplishment.”

Christian auditioned on May 23 at the Sarasota Orchestra for the Youth Philharmonic and made it.

“That’s quite an achievement for him to make it as an eighth grader,” Mongillo said.

Christian played at the family’s local church on two different occasions, in February and May, and he received standing ovations both times.

“That boy is a whiz kid,” said the Rev. Tony Miller of First Church of the Nazarene-Bradenton.

For a student to only pick up a trumpet in sixth grade and rise as fast as Christian has is an oddity, Mongillo said.

“Most young musicians are naturally gifted or work like maniacs,” said Mongillo, who is also band director at Pine View School in Sarasota. “Christian has both.”

His heroes are jazz greats Miles Davis, Woody Herman and Dizzy Gillespie, but Christian, who faithfully practices his trumpet an hour a day, also loves fishing, basketball and skateboarding.

Hofferbert and her husband, Cliff, who also plays the trumpet, work together with Christian’s father, Mark Wayman, a kayak tour guide on Anna Maria Island, to support Christian’s career.

Christian was asked recently if he would trade in all his trumpet talent to be as tall and great at basketball as former NBA great Michael Jordan.

He thought about it for a moment and then said: “No, I’ll stick with trumpet. I want to see just how good I can be.”

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