ITEA NOTES: Skip Gray, ITEA President
To refresh my understanding about the beginnings of our association and how far it has come, I recently began re-reading early issues of the T.U.B.A. Newsletter from the years 1973-1976. There are some great articles by the likes of Chester Roberts, Bob Pallansch, and Barton Cummings, as well as others. It was also particularly interesting to me to read messages from early presidents Dan Perantoni and Winston Morris. Much of the writing from what would become the predecessor to the TDBA Journal reflects great urgency, energy, and even passion for the tuba and euphonium. The concept of uniting tuba and euphonium players for the ultimate cause of promoting the instruments and profession was beginning to be realized.
Going through the issues of the T.U.B.A. Newsletter led me to the February 1973 special tuba issue of The Instrumentalist magazine. In a preface to the issue, Harvey Phillips identified four principal concerns of players of the day.
These four points focused on the need for (1) better instruments, (2) more music, (3) better teaching materials, and (4) more performing opportunities. Looking back over the nearly thirty years of our association’s activity, it is fascinating to witness the progress that has been made in these areas. Instrument manufacturers were very responsive to players’ needs and dreams. Today, there is a wide variety of designs of both instruments and mouthpieces available. I believe that our organization is largely responsible for this progress through individual efforts of artists and manufacturers, and by sponsoring major events such as international and regional conferences on which instruments and artists are showcased. We have, as well, organized a large consumer body whose voice both influences the things produced and serves as a market for sales. The development and expansion in repertoire has been truly astounding. This can be simply witnessed in the drastic expansion in size from Winston Morris’ 1973 Tuba Music Guide to The Tuba Source Book which was published in 1996. Although the growth has not been as exponential, there is definitely a larger diversity of teaching material that has become available, especially considering the large collection of tuba and euphonium recordings that has been produced over the past twenty years. When considering the issue of “more performing opportunities,” in the early nineteen-seventies many tuba and euphonium solo as well as chamber music appearances were still regarded as novelties. With the advent of new types of performing repertoire as well as the emergence of a handful of internationally recognized artists, the instruments have gained greater acceptance by the general public.
Have we gone far enough? Is it good enough? Have the goals been accomplished? No! Work needs to continue in improvement of the efficiency, flexibility, and ergonomics of our instruments. Performers and composers need to continue collaboration in the creation of works that are of aesthetic significance, appeal to diverse audiences, and that expand the artistic range and voice of the instruments. In the area of pedagogy, we now have the largest, best trained, most widely available group of tuba and euphonium teachers that there has ever been. How many of us still teach in the same ways using similar material as when we were students? Admittedly, “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it,” but concentrated efforts need to continue to be made in the development of effective, contemporary teaching methods and materials that address the needs of new generations. Finally, it has to be admitted that there will probably never be enough jobs for all of the talented players seeking positions. Experimentation needs to be promoted in creating new performing opportunities for euphonium and tuba players. What about a tuba-euphonium ensemble backing up a pop performer, a tuba-euphonium quartet having management, a recording contract, and touring like Kronos, or a Cirque de Soleil brass quintet act? If it can be dreamed, it can happen!
Harvey Phillips’ issues from 1973 are as pertinent today as they were then and serve as a good point of departure for action. I look forward to working with you to address these issues and others with excitement, urgency, and passion.
~ Skip Gray
Advertising Coordinator Retires
The Executive Committee of ITEA recently (and reluctantly) accepted the resignation of Jim Shearer as Advertising Coordinator for the Journal. Dr. Shearer has selflessly served our organization in this very key position for nearly 10 years, beginning with the winter issue in 1992. He has administrated every aspect of our advertising and fostered a great relationship with our music industry friends who do so much to support not only our magazine, but also our organization and countless activities of our membership. His recently increased responsibilities at New Mexico State University make it necessary for him to leave the advertising coordinator position at this time. 1 know that I speak for former editors Karen Cotton and John Taylor, as well as for our colleagues who have printed the Journal over the past ten years, not to mention the entire membership of our organization and all of our advertisers in expressing our thanks to Jim for his untiring diligence, his exacting attention to detail, and the overall excellence of his service. Congratulations on your success, Jim. You’ll be missed in this capacity, but we’ll be looking forward to following your continued successes.~ JY
For the information of our advertisers, new arrangements are being made for administration of Journal advertising, and you will be informed of our new situation in the near future. ~ Ed.
ITEA ELECTION RESULTS
ITEA expresses its appreciatiitn to the nominating committee for it.s work and its thanks to all of the nominees who were so willing to volunteer their efforts for the association.
The new officers for the 21101-200.1 biennium are:
VICE PRESIDENT/PRESIDENT-ELECT: Mary Ann Craig
SECRETARY: Velvet Brown
VICE PRESIDENT FOR INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS: John Griffiths
EUPHONIUM COORDINATOR: Gail Robertson