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Acclaimed Royal Oak Musician to Celebrate 99th Birthday

Legendary trombonist shares his secret for longevity.

The secret to a long life?

"Just be happy," said Robert Jones, of Royal Oak. "That's it. Just be happy."

Jones knows a thing or two about happiness and longevity. The former Principal Trombone of the Detroit Symphony will celebrate his 99th birthday on June 4 with friends and family at Niki's Restaurant, 703 N. Main St.

Jones is a regular diner at the Main Street restaurant. 

"I eat here once a day," he said from his favorite booth. "They help me get in and out of my car."

Jones, who taught at the Royal Music Center for years, said he occasionally runs into former former students while he eats his lunch at Niki's.

"I had as many as 100 students a week," said Jones. "It kept me busy."

In addition to performing with the Detroit Symphony, Jones also played with jazz pianist Stan Kenton. Jones could have traveled with Kenton, but teaching was his first love and it "paid better," he said.

In 1945, Jones appeared in a Life Magazine article featuring the top 100 orchestra men.

The trombonist has lived in Royal Oak since 1941.

"It's a nice place," he said.
Angela Doolin March 10, 2014 at 12:01 PM
This made my morning! I was one of Mr. Jones's trombone students in late 90s/early aughts when my mom drove me from Novi to Royal Oak for a half hour lesson at Royal Oak Music. I wasn't a stand-out student (although music was a huge part of my life), so I was especially grateful for his patience and kindness, not to mention his considerable knowledge! I went on to play in college and community band and still dust off my horn once a year to play with my college alumni band. I moved to Royal Oak almost five years ago and have often wondered about Mr. Jones and his life post-retirement. I'm thrilled to hear that he's around and well and about celebrate this exciting milestone! Hats off to you, Mr. Jones---thank you for the musical role you played in my life!

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