After taking six of the past seven weeks “off” from blogging, I am glad to return to writing in this space. I hope that my little corner of the internet has been and will continue to be an “oasis of edification” in the midst of so much information of questionable or limited utility. The number of page views here increased quite a bit toward the end of last year, and I hope to be able to reach even more readers over the course of the next year. Whether you visit here to read about music and brass playing or you prefer my occasional writings on matters related to the Christian faith, I am glad that you find my writings to be worthwhile.
My regular habit has been to reserve the fourth Friday of each month for writing on religious topics, but since a new semester began at Ole Miss this week and this spring will be full of interesting and exciting activities right from the beginning, I have decided to write a “spring preview” post this week. I will, Lord willing, make up for the “missing” post on Christianity with an extra one sometime in February. In the meantime, here is a summary of the major goings-on for me and for the low brass studio at Ole Miss this semester.
January 30-31: West Tennessee School Band and Orchestra Association Convention
Barely one week into the semester and traveling and performing are already beginning in earnest. Our participation in the “All-West” convention will be twofold. On Thursday, I will be giving a lecture for band directors entitled “Taking the Mystery out of Trombone Legato.” The content will be similar to a lecture by the same title that I gave for Louisiana band directors several years ago, which was very well received. I hope teachers in Tennessee will find it similarly helpful.
The UM Trombone Ensemble will be traveling to the convention on Friday to participate in a joint performance by several Ole Miss student and faculty ensembles for the students attending All-West. We are happy to have the opportunity to perform for such a select group, and I am thankful for our trombone students’ willingness to have several extra rehearsals (including one the day before classes began) to prepare for this performance.
February 6: Everett Faculty Recital
Although I had hoped to be able to schedule my recital later in the year this time around, I have once again landed in early February. Moving between alto trombone, tenor trombone, bass trombone, and euphonium, the recital will feature both original and arranged works for low brass dating from as early at 1475 and as recently as 2013. Professor Stacy Rodgers will once again be my collaborator for the majority of the program, and we will be joined by UM music faculty members Michael Worthy and Ricky Burkhead for the final selection, Bill Pearce’s arrangement of “Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho.” It promises to be an exciting and varied concert.
February 26 and March 2: UM Low Brass Ensembles to Perform at Basketball Games
After seeing YouTube videos of similar groups from other universities doing this, I inquired about having our low brass ensembles perform the national anthem at one or more basketball games this season. The gentleman from the athletic department with whom I corresponded was quite enthusiastic about the idea, and so I am pleased to announce that our trombone ensemble will be performing for the men’s game against Alabama on February 26, and our tuba-euphonium ensemble for the women’s game against Auburn on March 2. We are pleased to have the opportunity to honor our nation and our university in this way, as well as to introduce a new audience to the unique sounds of low brass ensembles.
March 19-22: Eastern Trombone Workshop
Although its name sounds like that of a regional event, the Eastern Trombone Workshop now rivals the International Trombone Festival in size, scope, and quality. This year will mark my third appearance on Guest Artist Series recitals at the ETW, having performed on the same series in 2005 and 2010 in addition to winning one of the event’s solo competitions in 2003. I will be joined this time around by Jason Beghtol, my colleague from Northeast Mississippi Community College; together we’ll be performing Douglas Yeo’s transcription for tenor and bass trombones of eight piano preludes by Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975).
April 22: UM Low Brass Ensembles Spring Concert
I was able to get a surprisingly late date for our spring low brass ensembles concert this year, and so I hope to be able to prepare challenging and exciting concerts for both the trombone ensemble and tuba-euphonium ensemble. Our tentative programs include works by Gustav Holst, Anton Bruckner, Gordon Jacob, Jan Koetsier, Ray Premru, Irv Wagner, and John Philip Sousa.
April 23: Guest Artist Recital: Dr. Martin McCain
Martin McCain is trombone professor at Texas State University and bass trombonist in the Minor 4th Trombone Quartet, the jazz trombone ensemble JazzBonez, and the Laredo Philharmonic Orchestra. He was also a member of the Mississippi Lions All-State Band along with me “way back in the day.” He is a superb bass trombonist and his recital will be an event not to be missed!
Ongoing: North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra
After spending the 2012-2013 season without a regular orchestral position for the first time in nearly a decade, I am happy to be performing for the remainder of this season as principal trombonist with the North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra. It is a fine ensemble, and one with which I hope to continue performing in the future. After a slow year last year regarding playing engagements (predictably so, since I had just moved to a new city), I am gradually beginning to get more performing work generally, for which I am grateful.
Besides all of this, Rich Mays of Sonare Recordings and I are slowly working to complete the CD project recorded last summer, I am beginning work on a book (more on that later), my editing work with the International Trombone Association Journal continues, and I have, as always, a number of smaller performing, writing, and arranging projects in various stages of planning or completion. And somehow I still have to find time to teach, be a decent husband and father, have a meaningful religious life, and get at least a little bit of sleep from time to time. Things are busy, and my wife complains that I sometimes seem to be paid only in “magic beans,” but it is always nice when one’s services are wanted and appreciated.