Boy Scouts of America
Serving young people is, far and away, the most meaningful thing I could hope to do. During the last few summers, I have organized and operated a Cub Scout Day Camp for around 500 cub scouts in Houston, TX. I currently serve as the Vice-Chair of Administration for the Golden Arrow District of the Boy Scouts of America. I am also an Assistant Scoutmaster with Troop 46 at St. Lukes United Methodist Church.
Previously, I was an assitant cubmaster with Cub Scout Pack 130. I was responsible for coordinating popcorn fundraising for the pack. My favorite job with scouts, more than any of the others, is organizing pack overnight outings every couple of months on navy ships such as the USS Texas Battleship, USS Lexington Air Craft Carrier, USS Cavalla Submarine, and USS Kidd Destroyer. As a Webelos Den Leader, I organized service projects such as Leave No Trace. I've also been a counselor responsible for our webelo God & Family program.
I've been a union musician for almost fourty years now. I joined the union (Houston Professional Musician's Association, Local 65-699) back in '74 when I was playing in the penthouse club of the Warwick Hotel near Rice University, the Shamrock Hotel's Emerald Ballroom, and the Rice Hotel downtown, Those were the days when big-band swing music was still a staple of high society and hotel ballrooms.
I play upright and electric bass. I've worked with most of the jazz musicians and pretty much every big band in Houston. I spent a year and a half touring the US, Brazil and Japan with the Glenn Miller Orchestra back in the early '80s. One of the most fun moments on the road was playing with the Mills Brothers in New York. Backstage, just before we went on, they'd sing mildly risque songs from the '30s, and have the entire band in stitches.
One of the most fun things I've done locally was a tribute to John Coltrane, which got some press, as excerpted from "Jazzmen salute Coltrane, Hartman" by Rick
Mitchell, Houston Chronicle, 10/30/1997
"But those who dropped into Cezanne one night
last month might have gotten a little more
than they bargained for."
"Witt announced that the group would play
Coltrane's ``A Love Supreme,'' a
four-movement suite that ranks as one of the
great landmarks of avant-garde jazz."
"The piece has been covered by other jazz
artists, but almost always in condensed
form. Witt's quartet of pianist Robert
Boston, bassist Richard Murphy and drummer
Keith Karnaky delivered it in its 40-minute
entirety, repeatedly building to climaxes
that found Witt ecstatically screaming
through his horn and Karnaky thundering on
the drums like a man possessed."
"As the piece roared to a finish, many of the
patrons in the small and normally sedate
upstairs jazz room were on their feet,
shouting encouragement to the musicians. It
was the kind of galvanic eruption that occurs
all too infrequently on the jaded local jazz