Once again this year I have a very full teaching load, with 28 applied students when high school and other private students are taken into account, 20 players in the University of Mississippi Trombone Ensemble, and 13 players in the University of Mississippi Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble. Those ensembles share a number of musicians, which is in keeping with my philosophy of encouraging students to double on multiple low brass instruments. Other than lots of teaching and a couple of short trips, this will be a relatively calm semester with regard to performances. Since the spring and especially next summer are looking to be rather busy, a comparably restful fall is welcome.
September 16: Northwest College Brass Festival, Powell, WY
Later this week I’ll be leaving for a short trip to Wyoming to teach at the 15th annual Northwest College Brass Festival, for which I received a kind invitation back in the spring. Much like the North Carolina Trombone Festival, for which I was a featured artist this past April, I will lead three clinics, play a couple of solo works, and participate in festival ensembles. I’m looking forward to an enjoyable but exhausting day!
October 6-8: National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors National Conference, University of Montevallo (AL)
I have been a member of NACWPI since I was a graduate student and have always appreciated its Journal because of the opportunity to read articles by teachers of other wind and percussion instruments. This will be my first time attending the national conference, and I am looking forward to hearing those same perspectives in person. My performance will be on the final day of the conference, in which I will be performing both the trombone and tuba sonatas by Paul Hindemith (1895-1963), along with indomitable pianist Stacy Rodgers. Although both sonatas have a characteristically “Hindemithian” sound, the tuba sonata (1955) is much lighter and more playful in character compared to the sense of impending doom communicated by the trombone sonata (1941). I suspect that this reflects the vastly different circumstances of both Hindemith’s life and of sociopolitical happenings worldwide between those two dates, and I hope to have enough time to talk a bit about that between performing the two works. I am also beginning plans for a longer program of Hindemith’s music to perform at Ole Miss hopefully sometime in the spring.
October 28, December 2, and December 9: Performing with the North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra
This will be my fifth season with the North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra as first trombonist, and the schedule for this fall is similar to those in past years, with a classical concert, a performance of The Nutcracker with the Tupelo Ballet, and a Christmas program for chorus and orchestra. While my role in the orchestra is usually as a tenor trombonist, at various times I have found myself playing alto trombone, bass trombone, or euphonium in the group.
November 28: University of Mississippi Low Brass Ensembles
Our low brass ensembles concert is once again just prior to the Christmas holiday, so there will be a couple of “seasonal” selections. Other highlights will be a trombone ensemble arrangement of the theme from the film The Magnificent Seven, and a new tuba-euphonium ensemble arrangement by UM alumnus Allen Carroll of the Six Choral Folk Songs by Gustav Holst (1874-1934).
Besides these events, there will be a number of student solo and ensemble performances, a large tuba-euphonium junior recital shared among three students, activities yet to be scheduled with the Mississippi Brass Quintet and Great River Trombone Quartet, and the usual mix of “church gigs” and other smaller engagements for me. In addition to all this “musicking” (to borrow a word from Christopher Small) I’m serving as president of the local Gideons this year, as well as sharing an adult Sunday school class at Christ Presbyterian Church, lecturing biweekly on the letter to the Colossians. There is plenty to do!