While my usual practice for the past several years has been to take most or all of the summer off from blogging, this year I instead took a break for most of the month of May, and hope to write regularly for the next couple of months with a series I’m entitling “Essential Concepts in Brass Playing.” For the seven years that I’ve been writing here I’ve endeavored to address fundamental issues with wide musical applications and these 6-8 planned topics will be in that same vein.
But for this morning I’d like to give TRT readers a rundown of what my students and I will be up to this summer. While last summer was rather relaxing, this year’s summer months will be filled with activity, with a number of conference presentations on the local, regional, and international levels, interspersed with lessons with high school students, freshman orientation advising, and the usual assortments of local gigs, church preludes or offertories, etc.
May 28: International Tuba-Euphonium Conference
This summer’s big activities begin this afternoon! I’m writing from a hotel room just outside of Iowa City, where this year’s International Tuba-Euphonium Conference is taking place at the University of Iowa. The University of Mississippi Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble will be performing as part of a 90-minute program shared with two other university ensembles. The rest of the week will be spent attending concerts, visiting exhibits, and learning from great players and teachers from around the world. This is our group’s first appearance at an ITEC, and I am excited for the opportunity for my students.
June 6: American School Band Directors Association Region 5 Convention
This will be my first time presenting at an ASBDA event, and I am honored to have been invited. My clinic, tentatively entitled “Getting the Right Euphonium Sound,” will address a topic that, while simple enough, is a perpetual issue in high school and middle school ensembles that I hear: euphoniums that sound too much like trombones and not enough like the tenor tubas that they essentially are. Happily, this problem is usually relatively easy to correct, and I’ll present steps to help make that happen.
June 17: Ole Miss Band “The Pride of the South” Directors Workshop
This workshop is a new event for school band directors in our region beginning this year, and I hope that it will become an annual event. I’ll be presenting a clinic entitled “Taking the Mystery out of Trombone Legato” at the end of the first day of the workshop. The content will be similar to that of an article I published in School Band and Orchestra Magazine a few years back.
July 10-13: International Trombone Festival
Not to be outdone by their colleagues on the tuba-euphonium side of things, the UM Trombone Ensemble will be making its first appearance at the International Trombone Festival, to be held this year at Ball State University. Besides the ensemble performance, I’ll be appearing twice as soloist, performing the unaccompanied alto trombone work Mythos II: War of the Wood by David Herring on a “faculty showcase” program, and then Worlds Apart for bass trombone and piano by Frank Gulino as part of a composers’ workshop in which Frank is participating. Once again, attending and participating in an event like this is a great opportunity for our students.
In case you’re curious, here’s a movement of the David Herring work, entitled “The Gremlins,” from my first performance of it in 2015. It is certainly not the usual fare for alto trombone!
July 28: ClarinetFest®
You’ll be unsurprised to learn that this will be my first appearance at an International Clarinet Association event. 🙂 UM clarinet professor Michael Rowlett and I will be reprising our clarinet/euphonium duo performance from last year’s CMS/NACWPI conference at this year’s ClarinetFest®. The program will consist once again of two pieces, a duo originally for clarinet and bassoon by Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), and our adaptation of Musical Flower Garden with Leyptziger Allerley by Paul Hindemith (1895-1963). Something tells me that this will be a somewhat different experience than the low brass conferences to which I am accustomed!
Those are the big events for this summer. I’ll also be preparing for several major fall programs, including repeat performances the newly-dubbed “Insanity Brass Duo” program with Michael Wilkinson, this time at Ole Miss and the University of Alabama, a solo performance with the Lafayette-Oxford-University Symphony Orchestra in November, and hopefully—if I can find time for it—a euphonium solo recital. I’d also like to finally make progress on the brass methods textbook I’d like to write. We’ll see if I can get all of this done!