The 23rd Annual U.S. Army Band Tuba-Euphonium Conference
SSG Dean Miller, The United States Army Band
The 23rd U.S. Army Band Tuba-Euphonium Conference was a resounding success. This marks the first conference for our new commander, Colonel Thomas Rotondi, Jr., who took command of TUSAB this past summer. Colonel Rotondi’s most recent prior assignment was commander of the U.S. Military Academy Band in West Point, N.Y.
The eighty-plus Armed Forces Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble
We were blessed with abnormally pleasant weather this year in the D.C. area, which was evident, as many events filled the capacity of the performance halls. The conference kicked off with a performance by the U.S. Army Band Brass Quintet, featuring guest soloist Mike Forbes (former TUSAB tubist and now tuba/euphonium professor at Illinois State University), the U.S. Navy Brass Quartet, and the Virginia Commonwealth University Faculty Brass.
Thursday began at noon with an open reading session led by SMSgt Gil Corella, U.S. Air Force Band. The session was open to all who had a horn and wanted to play, and it was a great opportunity for the participants to hear about a dozen tuba-euphonium ensemble pieces as well play with a large tuba ensemble—a treat most players only experience with TUBACHRISTMAS. The public got another chance to play in a reading session again on Saturday, this time led by Dr. Dennis AsKew (tuba/euphonium professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro). Thursday night’s jazz concert with The Army Blues featured soloists GySgt Tom Holtz (U.S. Marine Band), SSG Jon Voth (U.S. Army Band), and MSgt Dave Bandman (U.S. Air Force Band).
SFC Neal Corwell, performing Simone Mantia’s Endearing Young Charms
Dr. Brian Bowman, accompanied by The U.S. Army Strings
Yes, those are toilet seats—the “Tiefflug” tuba ensemble’s wawa mutes
A conference participant trying out a horn at the exhibits
|Friday marked the opening of the exhibits, giving the participants a chance to try out new horns, mouthpieces, browse recordings and printed music, and hang out with old friends. The morning schedule included a recital of military tuba and euphonium players and a clinic by Jay Hildebrandt (University of Delaware) on the intricacies of being a doubler (or a tripler) on tuba, euphonium, and trombone. Friday afternoon brought us an amazing recital from two fine orchestral tubists: Anthony Kniffen (Indianapolis Symphony) and Steve Dumaine (National Symphony). The third recital of the day was all about the ensemble, including performances by The U.S. Army Brass Dectet, the German ensemble “Tiefflug,” the George Mason University Tuba Euphonium Ensemble, the University of Missouri-Kansas City Tuba and Euphonium Ensemble, and the Normal Euphonium-Tuba Society of Illinois State University. The audience from this recital will always remember with “Tiefflug’s” performance seeing one of the most unusual mutes ever designed (see picture).
Friday night delivered one of the largest Armed Forces Tuba-Euphonium Ensembles in recent history, with over eighty military tuba and euphonium players. The U.S. Army Strings accompanied the soloists in the second half of the concert—Brian Bowman (University of North Texas), Captain Dr. Manfred Heidler (Leader and Commander of the German Air Force Band No. 2), and Heiko Triebener (Melton Tuba Quartett).
GySgt Tom Holtz with the U.S. Army Blues
Saturday began with a recital given by college teachers—Joseph Skillen (Louisiana State University), Gail Robertson (University of Central Florida), and Tom Stein (University of Missouri-Kansas City). Three recitals throughout the day brought us ensembles from all over the world: Tubalaté (United Kingdom), the Melton Tuba Quartett (Germany), and The Jazz Incredibles, featuring Red Lehr (USA). The conference came to a close with Saturday night’s Grand Concert with the U.S. Army Band.
MSgt William Jones, The U.S. Air Force Band
Open Reading Session led by Dennis Askew
The soloists of the evening were SFC David Brown (U.S. Army Band), MSgt William Jones (U.S. Air Force Band), Ben Pierce (University of Arkansas), Jörg Wachsmuth (Melton Tuba Quartett), and Ueli Kipher (euphonium soloist, teacher, and conductor from Switzerland). The highlight of this concert was definitely Ben Pierce, performing Three Miniatures by Anthony Plog on tuba. He then went backstage and grabbed his euphonium for an encore, playing Paganini’s Moto Perpetuo , while circular breathing the entire time! It was a very impressive technical feat, earning Dr. Pierce a well-deserved standing ovation.
Steve Dumaine, National Symphony Orchestra
Dr. Ben Pierce’s amazing rotary-breathed Moto Perpetuo
Mike Forbes, soloing with the U.S. Army Brass Quintet
Well, that wraps up the summary of the 2006 U.S. Army Band Tuba-Euphonium conference. As you can see, we pack a ton of events into a four-day conference. The best part of it—it is FREE to the public! We welcome everyone to return for next year’s conference, from January 24–27, 2007. As details of the conference are finalized, they will be posted on our website at http://www.usarmyband.com.