Boy who lost trombone plays a few notes backstage at Phila. Orchestra concert

Aidan Milligan, 9, plays a few notes on the trombone of Blair Bollinger backstage at the Kimmel Center after the Philadelphia Orchestra's first Family Concert on Saturday. Matthew Vaughn is at right.
Aidan Milligan, 9, plays a few notes on the trombone of Blair Bollinger backstage at the Kimmel Center after the Philadelphia Orchestra's first Family Concert on Saturday. Matthew Vaughn is at right. (APRIL SAUL / Staff Photographer)
Posted: October 29, 2012

Aidan Milligan didn't get to blow his own horn Saturday afternoon - he blew a Philadelphia Orchestra musician's trombone instead.

Aidan, a 9-year-old special-needs student whose trombone was taken from outside his Drexel Hill home three weeks ago - and later returned after his story got national media attention - watched the orchestra's first Family Concert of the season with his family at the Kimmel Center. Then he headed backstage.

"This is my trombone; I heard you got yours back," bass trombonist Blair Bollinger said, handing him the instrument. "Well, I'm glad."

Aidan met two other orchestra trombonists who are performing this season, Matthew Vaughn and Eric Carlson, and played a few notes on Bollinger's instrument. He also met bass player David Fay, who had first heard of the fourth grader's plight.

On Oct. 11, excited for his trombone lesson at school that day, Aidan had put his trombone at the end of his driveway before going back inside to get ready. When he went out to pick it up and board the bus for school, the instrument was missing.

Whether the horn was stolen or taken by mistake - it was trash day - is unclear. After the story got wide media coverage, the Philadelphia Orchestra offered to replace the instrument. And it invited the family to the concert and meet-and-greet.

But the trombone was turned in to Philadelphia police after three days.

Aidan said he enjoyed the hour-long concert early Saturday afternoon. Backstage with his family - mother Helen, father Mark, brother Ryan, and sister Meagan - Aidan posed for photos, beaming as brightly as, well, a brass trombone.


Contact Jonathan Lai at 215-854-2771, jlai@philly.com, or on Twitter @elaijuh.

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