Henry Falcon Cuesta (December 23, 1931 December 17, 2003) was an American-born musician who was a member of The Lawrence Welk Show. His primary instrument was the clarinet.
At an early age, Cuesta began studying classical violin, then switched to woodwinds. He proved himself gifted and was selected to play with the Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra in Texas while still in high school. Before being drafted into the Army in 1952, he graduated from Del Mar College where he majored in music. In the Special Services branch of the Army, he was involved in entertaining troops in Europe and England, which included a Tribute to Gershwin concert with the Stuttgart Symphony Orchestra).
After his Army duty, Cuesta toured the United States and Canada, developing his own highly personal style. While living in Toronto, Cuesta and his group became popular for visiting musicians, including Benny Goodman on one occasion. He later toured in the working band of the legendary trombonist, Jack Teagarden. Bobby Hackett advised him to get in touch with Lawrence Welk, and after listening to his recordings, Welk hired him immediately.
Cuesta made countless personal appearances performing and conducting in jazz festivals, state and county fairs, conventions, supper clubs, and symphony pops concerts. He appeared as a soloist with Jack Teagarden, Bob Crosby, Mel Torm , in a Bobby Vinton TV special, on the Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson, and ten years on the Lawrence Welk Show.
Cuesta died December 17, 2003 at the age of 71 at his home in Sherman Oaks, California after a bout with cancer.
His only son, Henry, Jr., was shot and killed while working in 1987 at the age of 17 during a robbery at a movie theater on Wilshire Blvd. in Santa Monica, California.
Welknotes Detailed obituary from the Los Angeles Times dated 12-22-2003.
Retrieved on 2008-10-28