On the biggest stage in front of the biggest crowd, the moments before a Dallas Cowboys kick-off are orchestrated chaos.
And just like the players warming-up on the field, you’ll find Freddie Jones and his bright blue trumpet warming-up, too.
“I don’t get nervous, but I do worry about wind blowing in the horn,” said Jones.
His game-day starts with a three hour practice session before it’s time to take the field and the sound of his trumpet commands an entire stadium.
The tradition of a Cowboys trumpeter goes back to 1966, when the man behind the horn was Tommy Loy.
Loy played the National Anthem before every Cowboys home game for 22 years, even Super Bowl V, until he resigned in 1988 over the firing of Coach Tom Landry.
More than two decades would pass before the Cowboys decided to bring back a permanent performer and found one in jazz musician Freddie Jones.
“I practiced that anthem 100 times before that first game,” said Jones.
Yet, Jones says his role on the field is nothing compared to his role mentoring the next generation of musicians through his non-profit Trumpet 4 Kids.
“I’m more nervous in front of them one-on-one or two of them. Have you sat down with these kids? I’m way more nervous with them than I am with [the Cowboys],” said Jones.
After giving away his own trumpets to kids who could not afford to buy their own, Jones started the non-profit to help change a child’s outlook by putting an instrument in their hands.
It helped 17-year-old Brandon Carrasco who received a free trombone through the program.
“It’s kind of like an escape for me. I can be stressed at school or just with a problem and I can just pick up my horn and easily forget about everything,” said Carrasco.
The senior at Fort Worth Polytechnic High School hopes to earn a music scholarship and dreams of becoming a music teacher.
“After I met Freddie, I really realized that this is what I wanted to do,” said Carrasco. “Once I saw the amount of change that’s actually able to be made just with a horn itself, I thought that was unbelievable.”
“It isn’t just about the music,” said Jones. “It’s about belonging, about helping, about going back and showing other kids. All of those things became a by-product of what we’re doing.”
Jones’ role on football Sundays has helped elevated his mission, showing kids where music can take them.
Even the family of the late Tommy Loy was so moved by Jones’ efforts, they donated one of Loy’s trumpets to help another child fulfill their dreams.
“I passed it on to a kid from Trumpet 4 Kids and he made All-State,” said Jones.
For Jones it was one of many full-circle moments showing the power of music and it's universal gifts.
To date, Trumpet4Kids has donated at least 80 free instruments to children who otherwise would not be able to afford them. To learn more: Trumpets4Kids.com