Mike Callahan first became acquainted with lower brass instruments when he brought home a flyer from his grade school (he was in 4th grade) about
learning to play a musical instrument in school band. His dad suggested the baritone horn, as he and his brother had played the baritone horn
in their youth. Mike was clueless as to what a baritone horn was, but after his dad described its melodic attributes he decided that was going
to be his instrument. He started with a rental horn, but on Christmas morning of that year he was given his very own brand-new, shiny brass
Conn baritone horn (an instrument that he still cherishes and plays today).
With private lessons, a new found love for playing the horn, and persistence, Mike started winning solo competitions throughout junior high
school and high school. He also began playing the trombone in his early teens, and in high school he played in jazz band, orchestra, concert band,
and marching band. He was selected every year of high school and his first couple of years in college to Southern California Honor Bands and
always was chosen as First Chair baritone. As a teenager, Mike also played in an adult community band at Long Beach City College. He helped to
start-up a Big Band playing jazz charts from the 40’s with some fellow high school musicians that actually had some professional gigs. He
directed the high school orchestra for Baccalaureate, and his orchestra director composed a special arrangement of the tune “MacArthur Park” that
featured Mike soloing on baritone and then bass trombone.
He entered Cerritos College in Southern California as a music major—the music department was very jazz oriented (heavily influenced
by Stan Kenton). As his college career evolved, Mike shifted emphasis and got a B.A. in English with a business minor from California State
University Long Beach. Through the ensuing years of building a career in the petroleum industry and raising 3 kids along with his wife Patty,
he had only periodic involvement with the music world. He and his family moved to Carmichael in 1984. Occasional stints with concert bands
(including the American River College concert band under the direction of Dr. Les Lehr) and jazz bands eventually led to his audition with the
Sacramento Symphonic Winds in 2005.