"Wanna bet?" Dixon, 44, recalled telling her teacher. "If you teach me, I can play it."
Her determination paid off. Dixon, who has chaired the music department at
Most recently, Dixon made an historic achievement. On
The Preakness is the second leg in American thoroughbred horse racing's Triple Crown, which begins with the Kentucky Derby, in
Dixon performed the "Call to Post" at the Preakness, together with
The buglers perform "Call to Post" on the herald trumpet. "Call to Post" signals the entrance of the horses onto the track before the race.
"Being the first female bugler was quite an honor," said Dixon, who teaches band and orchestra classes at
Dixon's opportunity to make history started at last year's Preakness.
An avid spectator of the sport, Dixon happened to meet Grossman at the clubhouse. She asked him if he would be willing to speak to her class.
"I want my students to see that music is lifelong learning and lifelong musicianship," she said.
Grossman and Dixon stayed in touch via email after the event. He discovered on Dixon's Facebook page that she is an equestrian and member of a fox hunting club.
Grossman saw Dixon wearing her equestrian outfit and said she looked like a bugler. He sent her the music to "America the Beautiful" and invited her to play at the Belmont Stakes during musical interludes between races.
Dixon traveled to
In an instant, Dixon became the first woman bugler to perform at
"I thought I was just playing for the experience," Dixon said. "It was a shock, a surprise to be the first woman."
Dixon said although horseracing is a male-dominated sport, she was unaware that no other female bugler had performed at
For the Preakness, Dixon purchased a scarlet coat from Horse Country Saddlery, an exclusive shop for fox hunters in
"It's an investment in my future," she said.
Dixon will play at the Belmont Stakes again on
"I'm having a wonderful time," Dixon said. "I'm absolutely over the moon. It's surreal."
A native of
In junior high, Dixon took on her band teacher's challenge and started playing the trombone. By the time she graduated from high school, she was playing the trumpet.
After completing her undergraduate degree in music education at the
In 1997, she joined the faculty of
Dixon said she encourages her students to play all instruments, regardless of their gender.
"Females can play anything," she said. "It's not that any instrument is masculine or feminine."
A resident of Stony Beach, Dixon is grateful to Grossman and Resky.
"I guess, maybe, they saw something in me that I didn't see myself," she said. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Something really good has happened."
(c)2014 the Soundoff! (Laurel, Md.)
Visit the Soundoff! (Laurel, Md.) at www.ftmeadesoundoff.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services