Felix Mayerhofer, born and raised in Port Chester, NY, in 1930, is the son of the late Simon & Maria Mayerhofer. Simon was a respected professional linguist & Maria a reputable choir director for Corpus Christi Church for 35 years. At age 19, Felix attended Juilliard School of Music on full scholarship. While practicing one day in his hotel room, he was interrupted by a knock on the door and was offered a job to go on the "road" with the Ina Ray Hutton-Randy Brooks Band. He also played with Bobby Byrnes & Sonny Dunham until the Korean War. His 552nd Air National Guard Band was stationed at March Air Force Base (CA) for 2 years. Upon his discharge, his sister, vocalist Scottee Marsh, and her lead trumpet husband, Carl Erca, got him a job with the Bernie Cummins Band. He also performed with the Ray McKinley Band until he joined the hit Decca Records recording band, Eddie Grady and the Commanders. He received his B.S. in Music Education from the SUNY, Potsdam. He then worked with the Allen Keller Trio in Florida, New York City, Las Vegas and Reno. While in Reno, Felix joined a jazz-pop group, Nancy Lee and the Bachelors. They were headliners in Lake Tahoe & Reno casinos before performing at the Dream Room on Bourbon St. in New Orleans for an extended stay. After that he played with a variety of bands. He toured and recorded with Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians for a year - until he met his future wife, Shirley Wagner (Wagonseller), a professional dancer at Harrah's Club in Lake Tahoe. Felix and comedian-musician Bobby Day formed a comedy team, "The Unpredictable Day and May," which toured for a brief time. Felix taught in the Palmdale School District for 27 years teaching concert and jazz bands at all levels until his retirement. While teaching he received an M.A. from Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, CA. Since retirement, he has written 36 children's stories.
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The Silent Flute
The courage of a 10-year-old girl, who knows she’s going to die of cystic fibrosis, is the subject of this poignant true story. With the short time left, Jennifer’s greatest desire in her weakened condition is to be able to play the flute. (Age Level – 8-11)
Slushy Beats the Odds
What a nightmare for Slushy the trombone! Going from the All-Star City Band, to a bunch of hoodlums, and finally to a pawnshop where he finds it’s almost too much to handle. Could this situation get any worse? Will his new master, Tony, show up in time to save the day? Start reading now, before it’s too late! (Age Level 7-11)
Wobbly Bags a Thief
What a shock Wobbly the shopping cart received when he overheard the manager of the market say he would be replaced. He was proud to have served the people through rain, snow, cold nights, and the hottest summer days with a smile. Little did he realize what the future had in store for him. (Ages 6-10)
Who is the true leader of the orchestra? We all think it’s the conductor. But the instruments of the orchestra know the truth … it’s the baton! For the first time it will be given the credit it so well deserves in this story in rhyme. Woody, the baton, mysteriously disappears and the conductor is absolutely helpless without it. (Age Level 7-10)
This Way to Heaven
Seated in a glittering chair was the Divine One waiting to give the signal to His representative, the Archangel Gabriel, whose angelic group would make an announcement of gigantic importance. (Age Level 5-90)
Slushy the Trombone
Slushy, a talking trombone, tells the sad plight of his master, Slide Hooper, a professional trombonist who becomes ill. One of Slide’s compassionate students takes it upon himself to help him in his hour of need. Young readers will learn from this story that “life is not a “bed of roses.” The next Slushy story will be more uplifting and humorous, but read this first. (Age Level 9-11)
Reaching for a Star
Who would turn down an offer of free lessons from Madam Gulenka to learn the graceful moves and artistry of a ballerina? This opportunity extended to an intelligent but overweight 7th grade girl with psychological problems reaps great rewards. (Age Level – 7-11)
Nick and Knobby in The Big Discovery
Knobby saves Nick and a Navajo boy from an abandoned mine shaft in Southwestern New Mexico, and in the process unearths a dinosaur bone. (Age Level – 7-10)
Katie Tosses a Ringer
Katie, a no-nonsense farm girl, takes up the game of horseshoes during summer vacation, practicing from morning till the dark of night. During the village horseshoe tournament, the old “codgers” underestimate Katie, and don’t realize they’ll soon be bucking against a homegrown tornado. (Age Level – 7-10)
Jamie Gets a Second Chance
To his mother’s consternation, Jamie, a future Louis Armstrong, hung out with the wrong type of friends. He’s forced to join band by the school principal, and with the help of his band director, Jamie becomes enamored with an old beat up trumpet, changing his life forever. (Age Level 6-10)
Horace the Great Harmonica King
Horace is an amazing mouse with hidden musical talents. After finding a harmonica in the symphony hall where he lives, he discovers musical talent he didn’t know he had. Maxwell the theater cat, whose goal it is to eat the little mouse, almost succeeds at Horace’s very first performance. (Ages 6-8)
Charlie and his Gold-Toothed Mule
What do curious kids, a gold-toothed mule, and a junk collector add up to? The young children who follow Smiley the mule on his rounds are astounded with the answer and surprise ending. You will be, too! (Age Level – 6-9)
Indians, cowboys, rustling, and a stampede are all part of this exciting cowboy story in rhyme. Written in the style of Louis L’Amour, the adventure revolves around a rugged 13-year-old boy who rides, lassos, and shoots with the best of them. You’ll read this thrilling cowboy epic more than once. (Ages 6-10)
Nick and Knobby and the Mysterious Ghost
Knobby not only gets “crowned” by a Baltimore Oriole baseball when the President of the United States tosses the first pitch of the season, but manages to sleep in the Lincoln Room and rescue the Queen of England in the White House. (Age Level – 7-10)
Nick and Knobby Go Camping
Knobby and Nick have a variety of wildlife adventures in the mountains on their way to the East Coast in their family motorhome, then find additional excitement while fishing in the ocean. (Age Level – 7-10)
Nick and Knobby Go to Mexico
Nick and Knobby take their bass drum act to Mexico City, where Knobby accidentally gets involved with a bull in a bullring. This wonderful drum-playing dog becomes a national hero to accolades of “Olé!” from the local aficionados. Children also learn a few words in Spanish.(Age Level – 7-10)
The Old House on the Hill
Did driving by an abandoned and weathered old house in the countryside ever arouse your curiosity? The anthropomorphic house in this story and his two companions, a mouse and a Bluebird, spin a mighty tall yarn to satisfy your curiosity, one you’ll enjoy. (Age Level – 6-8)
Rocky and the Rockin' Pirates Meet Merlin
Little did Merlin the Magician realize he would use a “heavy metal” band that appeared out of nowhere to fight Sir Arthur’s enemies. Rocky and his band are totally confused when they find they have gone back in time, after one of their friends with his magic wand, utters a mysterious ancient oath. (Age Level – 7-11)
The Mad Conductor
Hugo Von Flugel is not your ordinary beginning school band director, but a colorful one loved by his students. With an important decision to make, you’ll have the opportunity to see if he makes the correct one. This story comes alive in rhyme. (Age Level – 6-10)
The Three Little Godfathers
With a cry in the night and sounds of running feet, three homeless orphan boys living in a Mexican forest found themselves the godfathers of an abandoned baby. Through a series of fast-moving events, the lives of the three boys and baby are dramatically changed.
Baby Bears Meet the Band
(Age Level – 7-11) – What a great way to be introduced to the instruments of the band. It’s both funny and instructive with a strong story line in rhyme that keeps building rhythmically. If you want to decide what instrument to play, go no further than this musical gem.
The Talking Bows
(Age Level – 7-11) – If the Disney style is a favorite of yours, this is the story for you. Not only does it feature all the strings, violins, violas, cello, and stringed bass, it even has a banjo for comic relief. Country western, the classics and jazz are all included. To top it off the bows are the main characters, a unique change in the magic world of strings.
The Wondrous Voices
(Age Level – 7-11) Who ever heard of anyone singing all four voices: soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor and baritone? Such a person existed, a shepherd in the mountains of eastern Italy. Deep in his throat is his vocal cord family, Maria, Mimi, Roberto, and Carlos as his sole companions, singing the night away. How could this boy go from the serenity of caring for his flock of sheep, to fame?
The Band Busters
(Age Level – 6-11) - Pride, destruction, and pathos threads through this calamitous story. This could be the wildest story in rhyme you’ve ever read, where all adversities are overcome and good wins over evil.
The Ancient One
(Age Level – 7-10) - How can a tribe of cliff dwellers teach Songbird a rain dance when the tribe doesn’t exist? Wearing a sacred Katrina Mask given to him by the same mysterious Indians, Songbird demonstrates the spiritual dance to his own people shown to him by the “Ancient Ones.” The outcome brings great joy and relief to his tribe.
The Kingdom of Lipville
(Age Level – 5-9) - Who is the greatest whistler in the Kingdom of Lipville? Needle Lips and Iron Lips vie for this honor in the annual “Whistling Festival,” with Lady Sweet Lips, daughter of King Lipper in charge of the event. Invading hoards of infectious “Germ People” suddenly interrupt the festivities by attempting to wiggle up the walls. Will Sir Knight Lips stop them?
Ghost of the Fox
(Age Level – 8-11) – What an exciting way to be introduced to George Washington. This story is about the great victory attained by the brave men of the American Continental Army at the “Battle of Trenton.” The first part is historical nonfiction, continuing into the second half of the story in fiction-occurring more than 200 years later. This This is a must read for children of all ages.
(Age Level - 5-14) - Shortly before the birth of Christ, an angel appeared before a handicapped shepherd boy named Luke, who was told to collect old and damaged oil lamps. This request presented problems with Luke’s friends, townspeople, and was also of concern to his parents. On Christmas Eve he followed a bright star directed towards a stable in Bethlehem, where the reason is revealed.
Caws's Second Christmas
(Age Level – 6-10) – CAW, the same unpredictable crow again gets in trouble with his mischievous ways. Miss Spelling, the teacher, is the victim, but to everyone’s surprise Santa comes to the rescue.
Caw's First Holiday
(Age Level – 6-10) – The thoughts of Caw the crow are slightly cynical and speaks the one word it was taught--Jeb! This humorous story that includes important family values, are reinforced when Caw saves Christmas for Jeb and his family with that “one word.”
The Little Heroine
Age Level – 5-8) - Years of possible bondage at a secret silver mine for the men of a village in old Mexico is thwarted from an unlikely source. The outcome for the kidnappers is not what they’d expected, as the bravery and heroics of a little girl called Maria comes into play.
Chiquita the Featherless Chick
(Age Level – 5-8) – This story about a baby chick adopted by a loving Mexican family, especially Mama Gomez, will make you both laugh and cry. The little ones will especially enjoy the story and go “peep-peep-peeping all around the house.
King of the Ice Cap
(Age Level – 6-11) – Yaki, an Eskimo boy gives further proof why he deserves praise from his father. With his great discovery in this story, he makes an unselfish offer giving new life to his entire village. This gesture earns him the respect and honor of the tribal elders.
The Eskimo Hunter
(Age Level – 6-11) – Eskimo boys grow fast in the rugged cold weather of Greenland, and that was the case with Yaki. His heroic deed while hunting on the ice cap near the North Pole brought praise and honor from his father.
Nick & Knobby Go Hollywood
(Age Level – 7-10) — Because of Knobby’s supposed cowardice, Nick and Knobby fail their Hollywood screen test. But Knobby proves the Hollywood director wrong as he regains his credibility through his eventual heroics.
Nick & Knobby in the Daring Escape
(Age Level – 7-10) –Nick and Knobby who have an act where they both play the bass drum, are kidnapped in the “Big City,” and escape just in time for their successful TV debut.
Nick & Knobby Go Digital
Nick builds his own bass drums and organizes a digital bass drum band with Knobby as an integral member. The story includes a French baker whose ultimate survival depends upon the band. One of the main characters in this story is based on the author's friend Mario Grossi, owner of MARIO’S MUSIC STORE in Lancaster, California.
Nick Meets Knobby
In this first story of a series of eight called the “Adventures of Nick & Knobby,” Nick rescues a dog who used to be part of an animal act. Nick plays the bass drum in the school band, and Knobby, his new dog, has a tail with a knob at the end that looks like a drumstick, and he plays the bass drum, too. Knobby’s former owner causes serious problems after being released from jail.
DIARY OF A
YOUNG MUSICIAN — Final Days of the Big Band Era 1948-1962
Felix Mayerhofer grew up fast when he went from Juilliard School of Music in New York City to the professional "dog eat dog" world of big bands. It was there he encountered drugs, drinking, and women while traveling on the road. After a couple of years in an air force band during the Korean War, it was back on the road with more jazz groups. A fast read, filled with humor and excitement.
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