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I happened upon this endearing moment at MS 88 recently. It was lunch hour. Officer Bill Bales, school safety agent, was volunteering his time to help rehearse an eighth grader for high school auditions. The student regularly eats his lunch quickly in order to use the rest of his time practicing with Bales in the auditorium. The student has been accepted to La Guardia High School auditioning with music composed by Bales.
Growing up on the Lower East Side, Bill Bales went to Manhattan School of Music,
though he had to audition behind his parents’ back. At age 15 he met Cal Tjader. At age 17 he met Tito Puente and suggested the Latin master start an all-star band. Bales never got to play in Puente’s ensemble, but he joined the army and played in bands with the 42nd Army Infantry Division out of West Point and 40th Army Infantry Division in California. In the style of a one man band, he can play a whole range of instruments including his specialty, marimba. Next year Officer Bales hopes to retire from his safety agent duties and teach music at the school instead. You never know what talented community resources are all around.