The 30th Annual United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own” Tuba-Euphonium Workshop
Hundreds of people flocked to Brucker Hall at Fort Meyer, Virginia to attend the 30th Annual United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own” Tuba-Euphonium Workshop held January 30-February 2, 2013. Over the past 30 years, this workshop has grown to become one to best forums for tuba and euphonium artists, educators, and enthusiasts to congregate.
The 2013 workshop offered a wide variety of master classes, solo recitals, small ensemble and large ensemble performances as well as group warm-up sessions and mass reading ensembles. SGM Don Palmire, first euphonium with the United States Army Band, once again chaired the event, which ran smoothly from beginning to end.
The crisp, cold temperatures during the weekend did not stop the attendees, including amateur and professional musicians and college and high school students from all over the United States and around the world. A terrific assortment of instruments, music, mouthpieces, and other equipment were all on display and for sale at the workshop.
Wednesday, January 30
The conference opened with an evening concert featuring the United States Navy Brass Quintet and the United States Army Brass Quintet. The two groups performed a variety of music to entertain the crowd and came together as the Army/Navy Brass Ensemble to bring the concert to a close, performing arrangements of music including Berlioz, Debussy, and Mussorgsky.
Thursday, January 31
The first full day of the conference began with a group warm-up led by Joe Dollard, a former member of the U. S. Navy Band. He then gave a terrific master class entitled The Horn-Ear Connection: Bring your Horn and Learn How to Play and Sing! An open reading session followed with Gil Corella, a former member of the USAF Band, running the show. The first recital of the day featured newcomers to the premiere bands. Anthony Halloin (U.S. Navy Band, tuba), Matt Shipes (U.S. Air Force Band, euphonium), Landres Bryant (U.S. Marine Band, tuba), and Hiram Diaz (U.S. Marine Band, euphonium) dazzled the audience and showcased the amazing talent of the premiere bands. The University of Georgia Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble performed a full recital under the direction of David Zerkel. This talented group showcased what a great tuba-euphonium ensemble should sound like! The final performance before the evening concert was titled A Euphonium Trio Recital and featured Dave Bandman, Joseph Bello, and Joe Dollard. The three musicians performed a number of trios, displaying a high level of musicianship and technique.
The evening concert featured the U.S. Army Blues. This jazz ensemble performed works written or arranged by Matt Perrine and Earl McIntyre. Both Perrine and McIntyre soloed with the ensemble. The U.S. Army Blues kept the audience’s feet taping late into the night!
Friday, February 1
Friday was full of intriguing activities. The morning started off with a bang as Alan Baer, principal tubist with the New York Philharmonic, led a group warm-up session. Baer also gave an insightful master class later in the day about his thoughts and techniques for audition preparation. John Storey, euphoniumist of the Band of the Coldstream Guards, performed a recital and wowed the audience with his technical dexterity and beautiful sound. Joe Dollard took the stage again with a jazz combo later that morning and entertained an eager crowd. The winners of the Leonard Falcone Competition, Richard Demy, euphonium, and David McLemore, tuba, performed a short recital in the early afternoon. The future is bright for both of these tremendous musicians. As this was the 30th annual workshop, a fitting lecture lead by co-founder Jack Tilbury was given in the afternoon with discussion about how this all got started. A slide presentation accompanied the discussion with terrific pictures of past workshops. The conference continued into the early evening with the James Madison University Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble performing an array of music from baroque to contemporary. Kevin Stees directed the group to a successful and moving performance.
The evening concert commenced with the Armed Forces Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble under the direction of David Zerkel. The ensemble was about 30 members strong and performed an array of music from beautiful, moving moments in Martin Ellerby’s Epitaph VI to the technical splendor of Michael Forbes’s Cosmic Voyage. The day was capped by three terrific performances of euphonium and tuba concertos with the U.S. Army Orchestra. Chris Buckley was the first soloist and presented a wonderful interpretation of Boccalari’s Fantasia di Concerto. It is always great to hear this work with a full ensemble and Buckley performed it superbly. Alan Baer performed Jan Koetsier’s Concertino for Tuba and Strings for a captivated audience. His tender and precise performance of the work was a true highlight of the weekend. Tom McCaslin capped the evening with a tremendously entertaining performance of a new work entitled cONCERTO fOR tUBA and oRCHERSTRA by Jorge Salqueiro. With a mastery of traditional and contemporary playing techniques, McCaslin wowed the enthusiastic crowd.
Saturday, February 2
First up for the final day of the conference was the College Teacher’s Recital, which featured performances by Steven Maxwell (Kansas State University), Will Hess (Montclair State University), and Mark Carlson (Mount St. Mary’s University). The recital featured an array of music from late romantic to contemporary digitized music and showcased each of these excellent musicians. Later that morning, Tom McCaslin (East Carolina State University), led an insightful master class about high range expansion for the tubist. After listening to his wonderful range as soloist the night before, it was a master class not to be missed! Dr. Brian Bowman brought his expertise to an exceptional ensemble named the Interservice Euphonium Choir. This ensemble, made up of members of the different service bands, performed a great array of music and highlighted what a euphonium ensemble can really do. “The President’s Own” U.S. Marine Band Jazz Combo entertained in the afternoon and kept the energy high. A mass reading session led by Dennis AsKew (University of North Carolina-Greensboro) was the final gathering before the finale concert that evening.
The conference closed with its traditional Grand Concert on Saturday evening featuring the United States Army Concert Band. COL Thomas H. Palmatier (a tubist himself!) led the ensemble, which performed impeccably throughout the evening. Four soloists were featured. James Gourlay performed a wonderful little piece by Bruce Fraser entitled Concerto for Tuba. Gourlay’s polished and whimsical playing was a feast for the ears. Neal Corwell performed two works on euphonium with the ensemble including his own arrangement of Isaac Albinez’s Asturias, in which he showcased his technical fluency, and his very own work Lullabye. Corwells’s performance of Lullabye (which was written as a tribute to a recently deceased friend) was one of the most moving moments of the conference. Dennis AsKew’s delightful performance of Alan Vizzutti’s Cityscape showed off the talent of soloist and the ensemble. First Lt. Ann-Julie Skarpmo was the final soloist of the evening and gave a marvelous performance of the Euphonium Concerto by Philip Wilby and Wendy Phillips. The Grand Concert concluded with two works that have become the traditional closers to the conference, The Melody Shop by Karl L. King and Them Basses by Getty H. Huffine. Numerous euphonium players from all of the military services as well as the soloists lined up on the front of the stage to give the concert a bombastic conclusion!