2005 Potomac Festivals International Euphonium and Tuba Competition
By David Porter, The McLean Orchestra
Festival Host Roger Behrend
What do 76 student performers, a 36-page brilliant conference booklet, 16 volunteers, 15 panelist judges, 11 exhibitors, seven accompanists, six levels of competition, six professional solo artists, five sponsors, four fact and fun-filled days of tuba and euphonium events, three student tuba/euphoniumquartets, three professional clinicians, two large professional wind ensembles, two reading sessions, two professionalbrass ensembles, one superb reception, one magnificent dedicated conference coordinator, and hundreds of attendees all thrilled to take in the latest tuba and euphonium experience equal? The answer is the newest regularly occurring annual tuba/euphonium festival:
Potomac Festivals International Euphonium and Tuba Competition, which takes place annually at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia and is hosted/coordinated by Roger Behrend, euphonium/tuba instructor at GMU. Also credit should be given to Dr. Anthony J. Maiello, Professor of Music and Director of Instrumental Studies at GMU, for his continued assistance with this great event.
Jamie Lipton, euphonium
Carolyn Jantsch, tuba
This festival is indeed a unique experience, especially in terms of education. For students, the festival offers six different levels of competition from junior high school to doctorate degree ages. To motivate the students, there are performances and clinics scheduled around the competitions. Lastly, Roger Behrend has added cash prizes for all winners, first through fourth place and participant plaques for all. As Roger mentions, “the name of the game is participation.” For young students, this is a fantastic way to get involved with working up a solo, performing in public, and coming into contact with the tuba and euphonium world outside of their own school. For older students, this is an excellent opportunity to perform a worthy solo that could also be in conjunction with a recital or audition and get some great feedback from a panel of professionals.
James Robinson Middle School, Fairfax, Va. Tuba-Euphonium Quartet
Velvet Brown in masterclass
Jack Tilbury (U.S. Army Retired)
James Jackson of the U.S. Coast Guard Band, New London, Ct. conducts open reading session
Need variety mixed with quality for your palette? 2005 guest artists included tubists Jack Tilbury (U.S. Army Retired), Michael Forbes (Illinois State University), Velvet Brown (Penn State University), euphoniumists Lance LaDuke (Dusquesne University), Chief Musician James Jackson (U.S. Coast Guard Band), and Gunnery Sergeant Matthew Summers (U.S. Marine Band). Featured ensembles were The Fairfax Wind Ensemble (Stan Schoonover, Director), Nothing But Valves Quartet, James W. Robinson Middle School Tuba Quartet, and The “President’s Own” United States Marine Band (Lieutenant Colonel Michael J. Colburn, Director, Captain Jason K. Fettig, Assistant Director and conductor for this appearance).
Captain Jason K. Fettig, Assistant Director, conducts “The President’s Own” in performance
U.S. Marine Band Tuba/Euphonium Quartet
U.S. Marine Band in performance
The eminence of the music rivals that of other conventions, conferences, and festivals. Here are the 2005 winners:
Jamie Lipton, euphonium
Caroyln Jantsch, tuba
Samual Funkhouser, euphonium
Cheryl Foil, tuba
Daniel Sands, euphonium
Erin Spaack, tuba
University of Michigan Euphonium and Tuba Quartet
The competition was intense and the panelists had tough decisions to make. In the end, the winners were of extreme high quality, and the virtuoso winners were featured in the grand finale concert with The U.S. Marine Band.
With four airports, train station, bus depot, lots of rental car companies, and loads of close, reasonably priced hotels, this festival could not be easier to navigate. Roger has worked out special low cost parking arrangements with GMU. There are numerous eateries within 2-3 miles of GMU and on campus. Next year, come early and take a day or two to see Washington, D.C. and its historic sites (best way is to ride the Metro from a couple of departure areas near GMU). Keep an eye and ear out for this year coming up. Students are encouraged to come and participate, as well as take in the professional performances. Congratulations to Roger Behrend for organizing and running this marvelous up and coming festival. Next year (June 20-23, 2006) promises to be better than ever. Check out the web site (www.gmu.edu/departments/music/potomac) and look for the new brochure. Come, bring your students, and think about making the Potomac Festival an annual event to attend.