HUNTINGTON BEACH — No passersby recognized him, but I didn't find that surprising.
They were too busy hustling to and from the last day of Oktoberfest celebrations at the Old World Village. But a few stopped momentarily to hear the group of five French horns play a song of the old world and see the old gentleman conducting them.
The gentleman's name isn't instantly recognizable by many, but within the world of classical music — and its subset world of French horn players — Jim Decker is a legend. The 88-year-old Long Beach resident is a retired horn player whose notes are heard in hundreds of films and television programs from a more golden age. He played with orchestras coast to coast, helped start the Los Angeles Horn Club and taught at several universities, including USC.
Names like Alfred Hitchcock, Frank Sinatra, Henry Mancini and Igor Stravinsky he has worked with. Moments like V-E Day he still remembers. On Sunday, he told a story about how on May 8, 1945 — the day Germany surrendered and Allied victory was declared in Europe — was a hectic one.