Dennis Askew, ITEA President
As we move into a new year, we can look back on 2006 with both pride and sadness. Our organization celebrated mid year with a fantastic conference, reaching across cultures and styles, resulting in a great experience for all those involved. During the year we lost several important, iconic figures in our musical universe: Don Butterfield, Tommy Johnson, and Dietrich Unkrodt, to mention just three. These gentlemen helped to lay the foundation of success that so many of us now enjoy—I’m not talking about success in our jobs, per se, I’m referring to the success we now have in being realized as “legitimate” or “real” in the eyes of not only our musical colleagues but in the eyes of the public in general. In their own way, typically rather quietly (except when playing) all made significant impacts in their own circles of life. All of them were teachers, therefore impacting the lives of not only their own personal students but also the lives that those students would and will touch. All were what we would consider world-class players. All were advocates for the further success and use of our instruments. Their individual and combined presence will be sorely missed.
As we move forward into 2007, there is much to be excited about! ITEA is hosting a number of regional conferences in North America this year and is reaching out in other countries to help start new national organizations, which will only help to further what we, ITEA, can do to help educate and assist tuba and euphonium performers worldwide.
Micky Wrobleski, principal tuba in the Beijing Symphony, is working to start a Chinese organization, and we have been contacted by and are helping set up a South Korean organization as well. On a recent trip to China, I had the opportunity to work with students both in the north and in the south part of the country—while the performing level is good, very good in many cases— a national organization can only serve to help them develop a more standard pedagogical approach, help them obtain materials needed, and allow them to begin to interact and develop a more cohesive musical community.
One of the most striking things to me that I think we can help with is that there is no sense of understanding the role of the euphonium. From what I can ascertain, there are no colleges that allow for the advanced study of the instrument. I will be talking further with Micky and his colleagues regarding more effort in this area.
I hope that my charge to you all, to take someone to a live concert during the past year, was successful. I would love to hear from any of you that did this, to find out your experiences.
Good luck to you all as you begin the New Year—may your musical experiences be many and varied!