As warm weather begins to return to North Carolina (not that we really had a harsh winter this year, by any degree of measurement) I am reminded that we are a social people. My kids are out riding bikes and playing catch, and the adults of our neighborhood are coming outside again, to be together, talk, and relate. By and large, the human race enjoys company–and for the most part musicians enjoy “company”, too. We get better by practicing individually, but to what end? Certainly, playing solos is nice, but that’s not what most of us get to do on a regular basis. We enjoy playing together . Be it in a concert band, orchestra, a chamber group of some sort, or in some different medium, we enjoy working together to make music. In a recent conversation with an ITEA member from the Atlanta area, we were discussing (amongst other things) tuba-euphonium quartets. Not every tuba has access to a full brass quintet, and most euphonium players don’t wind up with many other outlets for chamber music, so the t-e quartet has become a significant outlet for many players. Even if all you have in your area is one euphonium player and two tuba players, there are no rules that state you can’t invite a trombonist to play along!
The musical rewards that we reap playing in a chamber group are many. That’s not to say we shouldn’t or can’t enjoy sitting in the back of an orchestra or band and really filling up the instrument in a large setting. Playing in a chamber group requires us to be “honest” with our playing–we can’t hide! Playing in a chamber group allows us to develop and maintain strong friendships and ties that can literally be life long. Sometimes it can be difficult to get things going, develop a library, etc. These are things that do have to be worked out, but by attending a conference you’ll certainly have access to a great deal of literature (in the display areas), outstanding performances by other quartets, and, of course, access to the ideas and abilities of quite a few other players. So, I say–get thee hence to a quartet! Make some music and have some fun!
If you are an amateur (or whatever.) and have questions about getting started, what to do once you are started, etc., feel free to contact a couple of ITEA members who are out there “doing it”: Bart Collins ( email@example.com ) is a founder of the Twin City Tuba Band, which is a large tuba/euphonium ensemble made up of amateur players, and/or Joe Lowman ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) who is a member of the Triangle Tuba Quartet, which, too, is comprised of amateur players. Certainly, if you desire a different perspective on all this, I’m sure your local professionals as well as members of Sotto Voce, Tubalate, or other active groups would be willing to talk further with you…and as always, feel free to email or call me, too.
So, how are you doing with my challenge? If you remember, it was to get out to some live concerts and take a neighbor, colleague, etc with you. Are you making any headway? I hope so–I’ve gotten two neighbors out to one concert so far, and plan to bring some friends who live in Denver in to at least one evening concertand, speaking of Denver
ITEC 2006 is upon us! Yeeha!
I cannot wait to get to Denver this June. This is going to be a great conference. In the last journal, we all received a poster from our Host, Kathy Brantigan, listing just some of the performers and presenters that will be in attendance. This is a truly impressive and varied list. I will be leading the reading sessions scheduled during the week, and am really looking forward to meeting many more of you there and making some music along the way. One thing I do have planned is for everyone to be able to get a listing of the music we read (most will be quartets–see above!) and will have publisher information, etc. so that you can purchase that which you are interested in. Kathy has some very intriguing sessions lined up for us all, and, during our “down time” not only will the displays be available, but Denver is a great town with lots of great things to do (bring the family for a vacation!) and great places to eat and socialize. Our inaugural presentations for the Roger Bobo Recording Award and Harvey Phillips Composition Award along with Lifetime Achievement Awards will be things not to be missed, as well. Even though it can be found elsewhere in this issue, for further info, please visit the ITEC 2006 website–http://www.denverbrass.org/itec/
I look forward to seeing old friends and making new ones in Denver–see you there!