HONORING HARVEY PHILLIPS, PART I: Eulogy
by Dan Perantoni
The following eulogy was given by Dan Perantoni at Harvey Phillips’ memorial service, which took place on Wednesday, October 27 at the first United Methodist Church in Bloomington, Indiana.
Today we are all brought together by our wonderful friend, teacher, mentor, and for most of us, our biggest hero. I have the pleasure of being one of Harvey’s former students, colleague’s and most importantly, one of his closest friends. I am honored and privileged to be Harvey’s successor as professor of tuba at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University.
Harvey gave the tuba “class” and integrity. Harvey’s influence on the rest of the brass instruments was second to none. Much of what we have today as musicians and especially as tuba players such as: solo repertoire, chamber music, symposium’s, notoriety, and job opportunities is due to the efforts of Harvey Phillips. He is, in my opinion, the most important brass instrument entrepreneur of his time!
Photo courtesy of Indiana University (http://blogs.music.indiana.edu/harveyphillips/)
Harvey was the driving force in creating T.U.B.A., known today as the International Tuba-Euphonium Association. He hosted the first International Brass Congress, and created our Octubafest and Tuba Christmas events, which have brought universal recognition to the instrument.
Harvey was an amazing soloist and an exceptional musician who could perform any style of repertoire at the highest level. He gave the tuba an identity as a solo instrument. His influence is responsible for making today’s repertoire for the tuba a reality. He was a composer’s best friend.
Throughout his professional life, Harvey was a dedicated teacher and mentor. He taught and inspired several generations of teachers and performers that hold the most prestigious positions in music throughout the world. Always proud of his students’ achievements, he heartily shared in their triumphs and successes. Harvey enjoyed having them as part of his family and gave his council as the father figure he was. He encouraged students to embrace all music and educated them that music is a language with many dialects. He was an international musical ambassador.
I have been honored to know and work closely with Harvey on many projects throughout my entire career. It was a privilege to perform with him all over the world. He was my mentor and best friend. We have been family for a long time.
One comforting thought that my priest told me when my father passed away—“…always talk to him. He will hear you.” I never stopped talking to my dad and I will never stop talking to Harvey. I know that he hears me now.
On the brighter side, I must share with you an example of his incredible sense of humor. We were performing at the Jazz Showcase in Chicago with the Tubajazz Consort. During a short break a gentlemen came up to the bandstand and said to Harvey—“ is this outfit any good?” Harvey replied-
Frankly, I think you would look better in a blue suit!
Thank you for everything Harvey. You were truly loved and will be missed all over the world. Everyone who knew Harvey is remembering him with their own memories – I know I am. The inevitable passing is always sad, but nobody can say that he didn’t live a full and rewarding life.
Harvey, rest assured that we will continue to keep your tradition and legacy alive.
God, take good care of our loved one.