by Dr. Mary Ann Craig
Guest Editorial on the U. S. Army Tuba-Euphonium Conference
by R. Winston MorrisPresident’s Corner
by Dr. Mary Ann Craig
Vibrant and dynamic are the words to describe the individuals on the ITEA Executive Committee. Our meetings abound with ideas and plans for action, and then the members move forward to take the necessary steps to make these ideas and plans a reality.
Currently Deanna Swoboda is heading up a project to grade the literature published by Tuba-Euphonium Press, including the solo and ensemble literature. In addition, specific instrumentation for the ensemble literature will also be included with the grading. This will provide a great benefit when determining music to order.
Conference Coordinator Tim Northcut is diligently working to establish regional conferences for 2005, and several members have already committed to hosting regional conferences. There will be approximately 12 -13 regional conferences located with hopes that no one will need to travel over 400 miles. A list of the regional conferences, locations, and dates will be forthcoming on the website and in the ITEA Journal. Gerhard Meinl, Vice President for International Relations, has communicated with prominent tuba and euphonium performers and pedagogues from various countries. He is assisting in identifying potential ITEA International Representatives who will serve as liaisons in each country. Each representative has been invited to attend ITEC 2004 in Budapest.
The Executive Committee will meet with these representatives prior to the beginning of the conference and again later in the week. We will be seeking input from our international friends regarding how ITEA can better serve our constituency worldwide, while also asking them to provide information for the website and the ITEA Journal about their national tuba and euphonium history and current activities, and to encourage membership in ITEA among the low brass musicians in their countries.
At ITEC 2004 the registration badges for ITEA members will have a bright sticker attached that will have”; ITEA Member”; for identifying our members. This will also provide an opportunity to talk with non-member registrants about ITEA and the purpose for being a member of the organization. International Representatives and guest artists who attend ITEC 2004 and are not currently members will be given a free one-year membership. Past President Skip Gray is in the process of completing this year’s Legacy Project, which will be another exciting CD. Last year’s Rich Matteson CD has received a tremendous amount of positive feedback. These projects are one of the benefits of belonging to ITEA. Those who have been members during the past year or who have joined within the past year have received a copy of the Legacy Project. These projects will be true gems in all of our CD libraries.
The Executive Committee realizes that an important”; voice”; for our organization is still in need of improvement, which is ITEA Online. Recently, several of our members have stepped forward and joined the web team, contributing knowledge and time to make ITEA Online a better representation of this organization. As the website is transformed, it will remain completely open (members’only section) to the general public through the summer (ITEC 2004)so that people may visit the site and become aware of its resources. Please”; keep tabs”; on the site during the next couple of months, and I encourage you to provide nformation to the various editors so that we may make the site inclusive and current with nteresting information for our entire membership.
Guest Editorial on the U. S. Army Tuba-Euphonium Conference
by R. Winston Morris
As I was sitting and listening to one of the outstanding performances taking place at the 21st Annual U. S. Army Band Tuba-Euphonium Conference (28 -31 January 2004, Ft. Myer, Virginia), I couldn’t help but enumerate in my mind some of the contributions that this conference in particular and the U. S. military music program in general have made to the state-of-the-art of euphonium and tuba performance. This conference has become, in my humble opinion, THE top continuing annual event for our instruments certainly in the U. S. A. and perhaps to some extent internationally. I would like to informally share my personal perspective on this conference with the reader and encourage everyone to consider taking advantage of this opportunity each year.
The Army Conference began 21 years ago when the then Secretary of the Army, upon being constantly impressed with the outstanding musical quality of the musical events he encountered, encouraged Colonel Eugene Allen, the Leader & Commander of the U. S. Army Band at the time to”; share”; the musical wealth of the army with the world in every way possible. Thus Colonel Allen was more than receptive when the”; tuba guys (and gals)”; in the band presented the idea of producing an annual tuba conference. With the able leadership of the tuba section leader, Jeff Arwood, the first U. S. Army Band Tuba Conference became a reality. What a great bunch of people who were involved in organizing and producing this major annual event. Have you ever noticed how frequently that tuba and euphonium people rise to the top of an organization?For example, tuba players who end up as the personnel managers and union representatives for their orchestra!Or have you noticed the tuba player who is THE impetus behind the formation and continuance of their brass chamber groups (Harvey Phillips with the New York Brass Quintet, Chuck Dallenbach with the Canadian Brass, Sam Pilafian with the Empire Brass, etc. , etc. ) or euphonium players who come to the front as THE premier soloist with their band (Harold Brasch, Art Lehman, Earle Louder, David Werden, Neal Corwell, plus many others including the”; definitive euphonium soloist,”; Brian Bowman).
The U. S. Army Band is no exception to the above observation. Those early days of the conference under the leader ship of Colonel Allen and Jeff Arwood were supported by a great euphonium section of John Mueller, Neal Corwell, Bob Powers, and others. But there are two tubists whose leadership qualities have subsequently propelled them not only to the forefront of producing this incredible festival but to the absolute top of the entire U. S. Army music program. After 20+years of demonstrated excellence in every aspect of their professional careers, Jack Tilbury and Ross Morgan have found themselves in the top two positions of the entire U. S. Army enlisted music program. I can’t tell you how proud I am personally of these two fellow tubists. The entire tuba/euphonium community certainly celebrates with me the recognition these two great tubists and musicians have received.
Jack Tilbury not only continues actively performing with the internationally recognized U. S. Army Band Brass Quintet and providing leadership with the conference, but he has attained the highest possible assignment of Sergeant Major, U. S. Army, Enlisted Leader. Ross Morgan is the Sergeant Major of the U. S. Army Concert Band, serves as the Conference Chairman, and, in his spare time, plays principal tuba and serves as the tuba section leader in the band. Through the leadership provided by Jack and Ross and the cooperation of everyone involved in the Army program, they would be the first ones to remind everyone that this conference would not be nearly as successful without the unselfish support over the past 20 years from their colleagues in all the great military bands including elements from the Air Force, Marines, Navy, and Coast Guard
With this sense of history and perspective and recognition of those responsible, then, we proceed to contemplate the contributions and significance of the military bands generally and the confer ence specifically. No doubt that a career in any of the professional military musical organizations is in and of itself a testament to a wonderful successful and laudatory career in music. Then one considers the large number of our top colleagues whose careers started in one or the other of the bands. Wow. I hate to start naming names because of all the prime examples I will leave out, but in addition to some of the great euphonium artists I previously mentioned who have enjoyed a wonderful”; second life”; (Louder, Bowman, Mueller, etc. )you can include Lance LaDuke, Larry Campbell, David Werden, Roger Oyster, and Denis Winter. Tuba names that immediately pop to mind in no particular order include such”; second lifers”; as Harvey Phillips, Dan Perantoni, Jim Self, Marty Erickson, Chester Schmitz, Bob Tucci, Tim Northcut, Mike Dunn, Pat Sheridan, David Zerkel, Mel Culbertson, David Bragunier, Bob Daniel, Sande MacMorran, and the late David Randolph, etc. with apologies to those I inadvertently left out. The training, discipline, motivation (good and bad!), and professional direction represented by such former military musicians are indeed impressive. Many of the above individuals plus many others have been featured artists at the conference. Harvey Phillips, THE Mister Tuba without question, and I had a short discussion at the recent 21st conference concerning the repertoire performed throughout the event. He offered off the top of his (formidable!)head that 75%of the literature performed throughout the conference did not exist when he began his professional career circa 1950. I countered off the top of my head (what’s left of it)that it was probably more like 95%of this body of repertoire we had been enjoying did not exist 50 years ago! Well, the point is, not only did the extreme majority of this tuba/euphonium/ ensemble music not exist 50 years ago, a significant portion of the music presented annually at the U. S. Army Tuba-Euphonium Conference did not exist ONE year ago. One could easily go back through the 21-year history of the conference and document dozens of fantastic new compositions and arrangements that were premiered each year. There are probably a significant number of these pieces that were commissioned/created specifically for performance at the conference. Which brings us to the indisputable fact that the existence of this event has been directly responsible for generating a wealth of new literature for our instruments.
Over the years the”; army guys”; have invited, pretty much annually since the inception of the conference, some wonderful international artists (i. e. :from outside the U. S. A. )whose further introduction and exposure to the U. S. tuba-euphonium world provided an opportunity for musical growth to all who heard them. I consider this personally one of the major benefits of my twenty-year involvement with the Army conference. There are so many great artists we have been exposed to through the conference I hesitate to mention names but I’m thinking of people like Michael Lind, Steven Mead, Bob and Nikki Childs, Sverre Oslrud, Wendy Picton, Jens Bjø rn-Larsen, Gavin Woods, Manfred Heidler, Eran Levi, Roland Szentpali, John Griffiths, The Melton Tuba Quartet, Heiko Triebener, Jukka Myllys, Frode Thingnæ s, Yashio Abe, Markus Hö tzel, and even a”; second generation artist,”; David Childs, son of the great euphoniumist Bob Childs. Another thrust of the conference over the years has been to try and invite as many of the master teacher/performers as possible to present lectures/master classes.
The 21st Conference, for example, presented Harvey Phillips, Brian Bowman, and Gene Pokorny. Not a bad line-up considering just these three”; giants”; represent in the tuba-euphonium world over 100 years of dedicated professional experience!Again I apologize for names left out, but people who have”; presented”; in the past include Roger Bobo, James Self, Rich Matteson, Tommy Johnson, Dan Perantoni, Ashley Alexander, Mel Culbertson, Bob Stewart, Toby Hanks, Howard Johnson, Pat Sheridan, Gail Robertson, Jun Yamaoka, Dave Fedderly, Sam Pilafian, etc. Where else in the known musical universe can young students and young professionals receive two to three days of interaction with and inspiration by such imminent professionals for free!!??Did I mention there is not, and never has been, any registration fee to fully participate in the U. S. Army Tuba-Euphonium Conference?
In all honesty, of equal importance to the presentation of those who represent the pinnacle of our profession, is the inclusion every year of outstanding young professionals. What an absolute delight it is every single year to listen to relatively young (hey, when you’ve been in this”; business”; over 40 years”; young”; covers quite a large category)and”; emerging”; tuba-euphonium artists present state-of-the-art performances. Each generation should be better. And, you know what? They are!If you want proof of this just make sure that you (and your students and all the”; amateurs”; you know)attend this conference next year. The list of names here is just too long but they represent the”; cream of the crop”; and the future of our profession is most directly in their hands.”; They”; deserve nothing less than the total support of everyone who professes to have an interest in the future of the euphonium and the tuba. To the extent”; they”; do not succeed in further advancing the acceptance of our instruments and repertoire, everyone loses!
I am not going to attempt to”; review”; any specific session that was presented as part of the 21st Annual U. S. Army Band Tuba-Euphonium Conference. I have been honored and extremely privileged over the first twenty years of this conference to have been invited to participate as a performer/clinician/conductor. I have performed as a soloist with that magnificent band, performed with the TTU Brass Arts Quintet, performed with the TubaJazz Consort, performed with the Modern Jazz Tuba Project, conducted the Tennessee Tech Tuba Ensemble several times, conducted SYMPHONIA, and was the proud conductor of the United States Armed Forces Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble for ten years including performances at the Pentagon and a performance and recording produced at the Chicago International Midwest Clinic. So my observations on the historical significance of this event may not be totally objective, but, as one who has been”; around the block”; a couple times I can attest to the fact that I always come away in late January from the snow and ice (inevitable, evidently)of Ft. Myer every year invigorated and”; fired up”; enough for another 40 years in”; this business.”;
Which brings me to my final thought which I must share with you from this year’s conference. I, and everyone I know, am always totally awed and personally inspired every time our great friend and colleague Gene Pokorny gets up to perform or speak. Not only is Gene one of the finest musicians I have ever known, but the most honest, open, unassuming human being on this planet. His musicianship and friendship is unlimited, genuine and open and accessible to everyone he encounters from the first year”; tuba kid”; to”; ancient amateurs”; and everyone in between. Gene, at the conclusion of a great lecture, took the opportunity to remind the packed audience that we are, indeed, all in this together. Everyone who aspires to the high art of making music on the euphonium or tuba at any and every level has a vested interest in the future of our instruments as well the artists, young and old alike, who have chosen the tuba or euphonium as their vehicle for music making. If you’re reading this, you’re special. Now recruit ten of your colleagues who have been enjoying a”; free”; ride, to join ITEA and support all the tuba and euphonium activities in your community. OUR future is in YOUR hands. Do something positive about that. Like our colleagues in the U. S. Army Band have done for the past 21 years!