SRTEC 2007 in Review
by Jamie Lipton
SRTEC 2007—the South Region Tuba/Euphonium conference—was held May 24–26 in Sarasota, Florida. Conference host Jay Hunsberger did an incredible job putting together the conference. Over three days the attendees were treated to world-class performances by a wide variety of artists at the home of the Florida West Coast Symphony and other extraordinary venues in the city. The overriding theme of SRTEC seemed to be “uniqueness in performance,” an idea that applied to everything about the conference, including the concert venues, repertoire, and presentations.
Jay Hunsberger (left) and the University of South Florida Tuba Euphonium Studio
p>The Thursday night concert was at St. Boniface Church on Siesta Key, which featured Demondrae Thurman on Albinoni’s Adagio, Adam Frey on Malotte’s The Lord’s Prayer, Jay Hunsberger on Walker’s Celestial Keys, Aaron McCalla on Bruch’s Kol Nidrei, and Gail Robertson on the world premiere of Sterrett’s Cast off the Works of Darkness—all beautiful pieces with organ accompaniment. The Friday night concert at the Ringling Museum’s Asolo Theater was appropriately circus-themed, even going so far as to feature Thomas Hemphill as the Ringmaster. Other “acts” included Tom Waid playing Wilder’s Effie Suite with the Veritate Winds Woodwind Quintet, Dr. Marc Dickman and Robert Pendergast playing a Telemann duet, and of course the “Florida All-Stars Circus Ensemble” playing circus marches. At both concerts were large audiences made up not only of conference attendees but also community members, who came away duly impressed by the soloistic capabilities of the euphonium and tuba.
The repertoire for SRTEC performances included a great deal of exciting new music from six featured composers, all of whom were present at the conference. It was great having them there; they were able to sit in on rehearsals for their pieces and give valuable input. Any tuba or euphonium player searching for something new to perform should check out the music of Bill Brusick, Howard Buss, Michael Donovan, Jim Stephenson, T.O. Sterrett, and Gwyneth Walker. The Friday schedule included an enlightening Q & A with all six composers. It was very encouraging to hear how and why each of them began writing for tuba and euphonium and are continuing to do so.
Tubist (and former student of Gail Robertson) John-Mark Hemphill performs at SRTEC
Other highlights of the week included:
- The very innovative and well-executed “Switching Literature” recital, wherein Gail Robertson played several standards from the clarinet repertoire and clarinetist Keith Coons performed euphonium works such as Jacob’s Fantasia and Sparke’s Song for Ina.
- Jeffrey Burton’s engaging presentation on Disney and commercial music.
- The Florida Brass Quintet, a solid ensemble with a great sound that blew everyone away with their performances of both new and established repertoire.
- Incredible euphonium recitals by Robert Pendergast, Demondrae Thurman, and Adam Frey, and an incredible jazz euphonium recital by Dr. Marc Dickman.
- Performances by promising young artists including Charles Kayat, Cassi Stewart, Daniel Geldert, Jeremiah Hemphill, John-Mark Hemphill, and students from Central Florida, South Florida, and Florida State Universities.
- The presence of great Florida bandmaster Joe Kreines, who wore many hats for SRTEC: conductor, composer, arranger, and accompanist. It is not every ITEC reading session that features arrangements for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s low brass section!
- The final concert on Saturday, which was a marathon of mostly new music including Adam Frey giving the world premiere of Jim Stephenson’s Sonata for Euphonium, Jay Hunsberger giving the tuba premiere of Howard Buss’ Ballad for tuba, Brusick’s For the Kings of Brass for euphonium/tuba ensemble (featuring Demondrae Thurman), and Sterrett’s Three Florida Orchids for euphonium (written for Gail Robertson, who was joined by the composer and Mr. Hunsberger for this performer), tuba, and piano, and One Fine Evening for tuba quartet, piano, and percussion.
All in all, it was an inspiring conference and it went by way too quickly! Thanks and congratulations go to Jay Hunsberger for bringing so many great artists to Sarasota for three days of terrific music and good times.
SRTEC participants rehearsing the mass euphonium-tuba ensemble under the direction of Joe Kreines
holds a bachelor’s degree in music education and euphonium performance from Northwestern University where she studied with Rex Martin, and a master’s degree in euphonium performance from the University of North Texas. She currently studies with Dr. Brian Bowman at UNT and is pursuing a doctoral degree in euphonium performance with concentrations in trombone, tuba, and conducting. Jamie maintains a large private studio and is the Adjunct Instructor of Low Brass at Texas Woman’s University. She is also an active member of the UNT Wind Symphony and the Lone Star Wind Orchestra. An active soloist, Jamie has been a featured artist at numerous conferences, and she has won several of the major euphonium competitions, including the Leonard Falcone and International Tuba and Euphonium Conference (ITEC) competitions in 2006, and the Potomac Festival competition in 2005.