Tom Halstead


Trumpet, vocals, lead cowbell

What kind of a nickname is "TAH"? Tom explains; "TAH (my initials,) are also the sound that a trumpet makes when properly played…still waiting on that."  He goes on, "I knew from an early age I was destined to play trumpet. When I was baptised there was a trumpet fanfare…others cried, I did not."

A one line description of Tom's role in the band would say "Trumpet, vocals." He does indeed play trumpet and he sings a number of the tunes which require a smooth, softer touch.

But his contributions go so much deeper. If we were all in school together Tom would be our class clown. He goes well beyond the basic tasks of playing and singing to add personality and fun to a Horn Dawg show. He wears many hats (literally,) and also serves as our auxilliary percussionist (including lead cowbell,) and personal band bartender.

Tom is a classically trained band geek, all the way from his humble beginnings at Madison's Crestwood Elementary School Orchestra through the band program at Memorial High School. All the time spent in Concert Band, Symphonic Band, Jazz and Wind Ensembles prepared him well for running through audiences at Horn Dawg shows with cowbells and tamborines.

He took his act down the road to the University of Wisconsin Marching Band, where he played in the early years of what is known as the Fifth Quarter. It was people like Tom who helped transform a dull traditional post game band concert into the wild and crazy show it is today. He was also a pioneer in organizing and directing smaller groups of UW Band members to play for local celebrations and events. (Later others would follow in his footsteps, like current Horn Dawg Carl Gitchel and former Dawg Todd "Farmboy" Thompson.)

We took advantage of Tom's T&A (talent and availability,) as a substitute player in the early years. Before we knew it, through death and disappearances (public records are sketchy on this,) Tom became a permanent band fixture c.2005.

He plays with the 'Dawgs because it is a good time, a great stress reliever and he was told it was a great way to meet women. "Still waiting on that, too," he muses.

Tom is a fan of almost all forms of music, but tends to lean toward Rhythm & Blues, straight Blues and Jazz. A list of his favorite performers would include Tower of Power, Here Come The Mummies, Brian Setzer, Al Jarreau, Frank Sinatra, The Cats Pajamas, Tom Jones and of course, Carl Gitchel. (Editor's Note: The last performer listed appears to be an attempt to suck up to the author of this post. But it's appreciated nonetheless.–CG)

After a 25 year tour of Wisconsin and the Upper Midwest Tom has settled in Madison and works at the Hilton at Madison's Monona Terrace Convention Center. Currently single, Tom has two great kids. Lauren is a UW Stevens Point student and a bartender (talk about chip-off-the-old-block!) Andy is a talented drummer, but we all like him anyway.