Today I continue a regular practice for this blog, outlining the major performance activities for myself and my students for the coming semester. This academic year is shaping up to be a very busy one, particularly in the spring, but there are plenty of fall performances on tap, as well. While much of my time the past couple of years has been devoted to recording and writing projects, I am looking forward to spending more time this year focusing upon practicing and performing, even while working to bring these major recording and writing projects to completion. More on that in a future post.
August 23-24: Tom Walker’s Gospel Train Big Band
Although this event is already in the past, I want to mention it simply because it was so much fun. Tom Walker is the former trombone professor at Oklahoma State University and now works in administration at the University of Missouri at St. Louis. A lifelong member of the Salvation Army, he has organized the Gospel Train Big Band to perform high-quality arrangements of gospel tunes while raising funds for and awareness of the Salvation Army’s charitable activities and, of course, to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The band has only a few regular members that travel to all of the performances, with local musicians filling out the majority of the ensemble; this is the second opportunity I have had to do so. Tom always manages to hire great players, and the resulting sound is magnificent. Check out their website and new recording at www.gospeltrainbigband.com.
October 25: North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra
This year I will once again be occupying the principal trombone chair in the North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra (formerly the Tupelo Symphony Orchestra). While the performance calendar for this group is fuller in the spring than in the fall, the October concert will feature a number of French works, including the Piano Concerto No. 2 by Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921).
November 3: Mississippi Brass Quintet
The Mississippi Brass Quintet is the faculty brass ensemble at the University of Mississippi, and will appear in concert this fall as part of the Department of Music’s Faculty Recital Series. The November concert will include works by Hugh Aston (1485-1558), Ingolf Dahl (1912-1970), Anthony Plog (b. 1947), and MBQ trumpeter and UM composition professor Stanley Friedman. The quintet will turn its attention to touring and recruiting in the spring.
November 17: UM Low Brass Ensembles
The University of Mississippi Trombone Ensemble and Tuba-Euphonium ensemble continue to grow bigger and better each year, with fourteen and thirteen members, respectively (up from nine and six just a couple of years ago). Despite a severely limited rehearsal schedule and a focus on teaching and learning over performance, these groups nevertheless present enjoyable and variegated concerts each year. This fall’s concert will include original works by Václav Nelhýbel (1919-1996), Michael Hennagin (1936-1993), Wesley Hanson, Thom Ritter George (b. 1942), and Jan Koetsier (1911-2006), as well as arrangements of works by Sir John Stainer (1840-1901), Benedetto Marcello (1686-1739), and John Philip Sousa (1854-1932).
November 19: Student Recitals: D.J. Fitzgerald and Nelson Coile
The University of Mississippi’s music education curriculum lacks a recital performance requirement for graduation, so I am especially encouraged when future music teachers in my studio come to me asking to perform a half or full recital. This November trombonist D.J. Fitzgerald and tubist Nelson Coile will share a lengthy and challenging program including works by Alec Wilder (1907-1980), Henri Tomasi (1901-1971) Eugène Bozza (1905-1991), and Jan Sandström (b. 1954), as well as two pieces by Eric Ewazen (b. 1954).
November 7: Quartet Performance at University of Memphis Low Brass Workshop
An exciting new endeavor for me this year is the formation of a still-unnamed trombone quartet along with three other university trombone professors, Joseph Frye (University of Tennessee at Martin), Ed Morse (Mississippi Valley State University), and John Mueller (University of Memphis). Our inaugural performance will be during this year’s University of Memphis Low Brass Workshop, and we are looking forward to further performances during the spring semester. I am especially enjoying my role as bass trombonist in the group, as most of my more recent performance opportunities have involved playing high notes on the tenor trombone. I enjoy the variety and balance that come with performing on multiple instruments and exploring a wide tonal range.
December 6: TUBACHRISTMAS
This year we will once again be bringing the annual TUBACHRISTMAS event to Oxford, with a morning rehearsal and lunchtime performance in Nutt Auditorium on December 6. After inclement weather forced us from our planned outdoor venue to the auditorium last year, I so much enjoyed playing indoors that I have decided to remain there this year. As always, tuba and euphonium players of all ages and ability levels are welcome to participate, and band directors are especially invited to encourage their students to come or even bring them to the event. It is always great fun for everyone involved!
While this list does not include smaller performances for campus events, church services, student recital hours, Christmas programs, and the like, it does outline the major goings-on here for myself and my students this semester. As I mentioned, the spring is already shaping up to be even busier, with at least a couple of appearances at regional low brass conferences in addition to the usual local and on-campus fare. I’ll share more about that in a similar post planned for January. In the meantime, if you would like more information about any of these events please contact me.