Dennis AsKew, ITEA President
During the General Membership meeting this past summer at ITEC 2008, the idea of more equal representation of euphoniumists in the organization was brought up. If you weren’t in attendance, you can likely imagine some good discussion ensued! Certainly, this is not the first time such discussions have taken place, both publicly and privately. In the past, when our organization was known as T.U.B.A., it could be easily understood that confusion could have taken place regarding the euphonium or euphoniumist’s role in our setting. While I fully believe that the status of the euphonium has changed, both in our “area” and in the public view (even though we are nearly a decade into our organization’s name change), there obviously still is work that needs to take place.
Over the years, I’ve been fortunate enough to have access to all of our former journals and read through them on an ongoing basis. Early on in our organization’s history, then President, R. Winston Morris, included the following letter with the Journal, which is provided in its entirety below.
Some of these areas we have certainly addressed, I believe, but others, quite obviously, we are still working on.
I personally would enjoy hearing from everyone by email or phone regarding your feelings about these statements, and what we, as an organization, can continue or begin to do to further our entire family of instruments.
Euphonium Statements – True or False
- The euphonium has no future—it is a dead instrument! True_____ False _____
- The best future of the euphonium player is to pack the horn up and take up trombone! True_____ False _____
- The only possible use for the euphonium is to play “cello parts” in orchestral works transcribed for band and as bands perform less and less of this type of music the instrument will fall into disfavor. True_____ False _____
- Euphonium players have fallen into a rut as far as equipment is concerned and this accounts for the lack of variety in performing styles and lack of incentive to manufacturers to try and improve their product. True_____ False _____
- Euphoniumists, as a group, are evidently not too concerned about the future of their instrument otherwise they would be more vocal about current conditions that many times relegate their instrument to something less than first-class musical citizenship. True_____ False _____
Attention Euphoniumists: If the statements on the outside of the page do not inspire your rage then you need to seriously question exactly how much, in fact, you are committed to your instrument. Unfortunately all of the true-false statements are, if not exact quotes, at least very accurate paraphrases that I have encountered within the past few years. Is there in fact the smallest element of truth in some of these statements?!
I propose that the opportunities afforded euphoniumists as a group and the euphonium as a vital 20th century instrument through T.U.B.A. (“…instruments of the tuba family…”) are the most logical and practical means of creating a new image for the instrument.
It was my privilege to be actively involved in the earliest days of the formation and structuring of T.U.B.A. In the spring of 1969 Bob Ryker, Les Varner, and I met in Muncie, Indiana, and spent 48 non-stop hours drawing up the first of several T.U.B.A. Constitutions. I have been actively involved in every subsequent change and evolution that out Constitution has been subjected to. It has been my absolute commitment to see that the euphonium (baritone horn, tenor tuba – “…instruments of the tuba family…”) was always seriously considered and included in every activity associated with T.U.B.A. With the full support of others (usually not euphoniumists as such but tubists), the euphonium has been included in every Symposium/Workshop so far. The first commission work for T.U.B.A. contracted by Dan Perantoni was for euphonium and marimba by Samuel Adler. New materials for Euphonium were always included in the T.U.B.A. Newsletter. Ray Young, Earle Louder, Brian Bowman and others were kind enough to submit materials for the Newsletter. It is my intention, as President of T.U.B.A., with the full support of Earle Louder, T.U.B.A. Euphonium Coordinator, to continue to support the advancement of the euphonium in every possible way.
The point of this letter is: T.U.B.A. IS for EUPHONIUM PLAYERS. The state of euphonium membership would indicate that this is not common knowledge! T.U.B.A. affords an opportunity for euphoniumists to organize their thinking. T.U.B.A. offers the potential for exploring new directions in the future of the euphonium. T.U.B.A. can be a point of focus, with the guidance of the Euphonium Coordinator, for euphoniumists everywhere.
Frankly, these statements on the outside concern me greatly! Just the fact that someone somewhere feels justified in making such statements means that someone will start believing them. Maybe euphonium players have fallen into a rut!? Maybe euphonium players a not vocal enough!? Are there really so few people who aspire to high ideals for the euphonium and have a positive attitude towards the instrument?
If you are currently a dues-paying member of T.U.B.A., then please pass this on to as many euphoniumists as you can. If you are not now a dues-paying member of T.U.B.A., and you are concerned about the future of the euphonium: we need you, we need your support—JOIN NOW! Communicate with us and become involved with the future of your instrument.
R. Winston Morris
President – T.U.B.A.