The President’s Corner by Skip Gray, President
An important goal of ITEA is documenting and preserving the heritage of great players who have made a significant impact on the tuba-euphonium world. I am very proud that, with this issue of the Journal, the association has begun a new annual project producing a compact disc of a great tuba or euphonium player and distributing it to the membership.
Volume One of “The ITEA Tuba-Euponium Legacy Project” focuses on the great jazz artist Rich Matteson, following his career as tubist with the Dukes of Dixieland through his later performances on the euphonium. Rich was a remarkable musician, dedicated and inspiring teacher, and a great man. As you listen to the CD, you will be touched by both his artistry and humanity. I would like to thank Marcus Dickman and Rich’s wife Mikki for all of their work in putting this great tribute together for the members of ITEA. I would also like to express gratitude to Mark Morrette at Mark Custom Recordings for his assistance with sponsoring the recording.
This spring we are celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of the founding of our association. As Vice-President for International Relations, John Griffiths, proudly points out, Robert Ryker began promoting Tubists Universal Brotherhood Association in Montreal, Canada in the mid to late 1960s. Ryker, former Principal Tubist with the L’Orchestra Symphonique Montreal, is credited with not only coining the name “Tubists Universal Brotherhood Association” but also initiated early activity to begin the association. Robert Ryker was a student of William Bell in New York City and was an active member of the camaraderie at McSorley’s Old Ale House where a great deal of pre-foundation activity of the organization took place. The efforts of Robert Ryker from 1966 to 1971 led to the scheduling of meetings between prominent tubists during the Midwest Band-Orchestra Clinic in Chicago in December 1972. Two substantial outcomes of these gatherings included an organizational meeting for the association as well as the concept of structuring a symposium-workshop that would “spawn discussions and projections of pedagogical considerations and instrument design, to showcase performers and literature of every musical discipline, and to bring about a ‘formal’ structure for T.U.B.A.”
In May 1973, Harvey Phillips hosted the First International Tuba Symposium-Workshop in Bloomington, Indiana. During this conference, a constitution and by-laws were drafted, goals identified, officers elected, and plans developed for future symposia. The stated purpose of the symposium-workshop was “to redefine the role of the tuba, reshape both the self-concept of tubists and their public persona, explore new direction in techniques and performance, improve methods and teaching materials, generate new compositions, and expand performance opportunities.” These principles became luminary areas of focus for Tubist Universal Brotherhood Association.
Over the course of meetings at the May 1973 symposium-workshop, it was proposed and formally decided to include the euphonium as an equal component within all activities of the new association. After the publication of a “Special Organization Issue Newsletter” in early 1973, a quarterly newsletter was published by the new Tubists Universal Brotherhood Association beginning in Fall 1973 under the editorship of R.Winston Morris. The first National Tuba-Euphonium Symposium Workshop sponsored by T.U.B.A. took place at the University of Illinois-Urbana in May 1975. At this well attended gathering, the strong enthusiasm and new shared vision for the instruments continued to fuel organizational work that provided the structural foundation of the association. A primary function of T.U.B.A. was to produce a publication that documents and promotes the activity of those involved with the instruments of the tuba family throughout the world. With the Fall 1974 issue (Volume IV, No. 1), the association changed the name of its quarterly publication to the T.U.B.A. Journal.
Another important focus of the association has been the promotion of conferences featuring the tuba and euphonium at regional, national, and international levels. International Tuba-Euphonium Conferences have taken place in Los Angeles, California (1978), Denton, Texas (1980), Washington, DC (1983), Austin, Texas (1986), Sapporo, Japan (1990), Lexington, Kentucky (1992), Chicago, Illinois (1995), Riva del Garda, Italy (1997), Minneapolis, Minnesota (1998), Regina, Canada (2000), Lahti, Finland (2001), and Greensboro, North Carolina (2002).
A rudiment of Tubists Universal Brotherhood Association has always been inclusiveness. The organization was founded with the primary intent to advance both the tuba and euphonium. In order to reflect this integral mission as well as more than twenty-five years of actual practice, it was proposed by the Executive Committee in the year 2000 that the organization change its name to “International Tuba-Euphonium Association.” There were several important reasons for the proposed name including clarification that the purpose of the association is in bringing together all those who take an interest in both the euphonium and/or tuba. Another significant factor giving impetus to the name change, once again reflecting the organization’s goal of inclusiveness, was to rid itself of the gender exclusive connotation transmitted by the word “brotherhood.” During a formal review of the association constitution in 1986, all gender references were neutralized. The name change proposal was approved by a vote of the general membership and on January 1, 2001, the organization assumed its new name, the International Tuba-Euphonium Association (I.T.E.A.). A continuing objective of I.T.E.A. is to commission significant new works for both the tuba and euphonium. Several important works have been created with the support of I.T.E.A. including the Concerto for Euphonium and Orchestra by Jan Bach, Raymond Premru’s Concerto for Tuba and Orchestra (in memory of John Fletcher), as well as works for tuba-euphonium ensemble by Fisher Tull and John Cheetham. In May, I.T.E.A. will present a special dedication ceremony unveiling plaques at Indiana University commemorating the First International Tuba Conference, William Bell, and Harvey Phillips. I invite you to be a part of this special day for our association and I welcome each member’s help in carrying out the ongoing work still in front of us.