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ITEA Journal Volume 42 Number 4 (Summer 2015)
2015 Regional Conferences
Great Plains Regional
The first act at the opening concert of the Great Plains Regional Tuba and Euphonium Conference was Five, a euphonium quartet that provides an ensemble experience unique in the low brass world. In addition to some very fine euphonium playing, Five has an impressive stage presence with very well planned and executed staging and acting. Their performance at times blurs the lines between music and acting, but always in a good way, one that draws the audience into the performance and makes the show memorable. Throughout the concert, they teased the audience with revealing the contents of their neon green box, but in the end they never did reveal the contents.
The second act on the opening concert was the United States Army Band Ceremonial Tuba Euphonium Quartet. This group consists of three euphonium players and one tuba player, an unusual but successful combination. The tuba player, SSG Charles Gianneli, performed on contrabass tuba which helped provide acoustic space for the top three euphonium voices. Because of this choice and their great musicality as a group, balance was never an issue. Their program showcased each member's virtuosic technical abilities on pieces such as Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 3, Barnum and Bailey's Favorite March, and Dance of the Tumblers. Giannelli's ability to match the euphoniums was impressive. In addition to these virtuosic technical works, the group included some jazz standards such as "What a Wonderful World" and "Just a Closer Walk With Thee" for a nice change of pace. The highlight of the evening, though, was the "Serenade" from the operetta The Student Prince by Sigmund Romberg with Dr. Brian Bowman as the featured soloist. It was special to see Dr. Bowman perform with three of his former students.
The North Texas Euphonium Quartet presented an incredible half hour of euphonium mastery by expertly performing a program of very difficult ensemble repertoire. Their program began with Go by Dr. Mike Forbes. The rhythmic cohesion combined with the unity of tone and phrasing was impressive. After the beautiful harmonies of Philip Sparke's Song for Ina, which featured conference host Dr. Ryan Robinson playing the solo part on tuba, the quartet switched genres and brought a comedic aspect to their performance. The introduction to "Tico, Tico" had the large crowd roaring with laughter, especially after the ensemble's unique vocal rhythmic outbursts. The amazing part of this act is that while it is humorous in its onset, the virtuosity of the playing takes the show to another level of entertaining. Before finishing their program with perhaps the fastest Bugler's Holiday ever performed on euphoniums, the group performed a new piece called Tipping Point by Patrick Green. This piece was written in homage to Gustav Holst, but incorporates jazz and hip hop elements while requiring the performers to play intricate percussive rhythms as a group. The NTEQ is a must see ensemble, as they do an amazing job of blending virtuosic performance with an engaging and humorous stage presence.
Chris Buckley presented a widely varied program that displayed his virtuosic technique, beautifully resonant tone, expert phrasing, and extreme range. He tied his recital together with the theme of "Begged, Borrowed, and Stolen." After opening with Tarentella by W. H. Squire, he embarked upon his thematic choice of literature by performing "Estrellita," a beautiful aria by Manuel Ponce, for his wife. He had to beg her to let him attend the conference and perform on their anniversary. Next was the Allegro Maestoso by Jan Koetsier, which he stole from his bass trombone lesson teacher. His final selection was the last two movements from the Ellerby Euphonium Concerto.
One of the best presentations at this conference, "Conducting and Rehearsing Tuba/Euphonium Ensembles," was unfortunately not very well attended. In this lecture Dr. Mark Norman, Director of Bands and Professor of Tuba and Euphonium at Washburn University, worked with the University of Texas - Pan American tuba/euphonium ensemble to demonstrate some of his conducting and rehearsal techniques. This presentation started with a brief overview of conducting basics where all members of the audience participated and worked on the three conducting planes. Mark discussed the philosophy behind preparing and selecting repertoire for a tuba/euphonium ensemble with an emphasis on having a mission statement that guides all decisions for the group. He then led the ensemble through his chord pattern sets that are designed to help the ensemble work on intonation and balance. Mark finished by demonstrating different conducting techniques for cuing the ensemble, rehearsal strategy, and fixing intonation issues.
Texas A&M University - Commerce tuba professor Jeff Baker performed one of the most unique recitals at this conference. Jeff performed an entire program of solo works on cimbasso. He performed on a hand-made instrument featuring a marching baritone bell that lent this cimbasso a slightly mellower tone than one would associate with a typical cimbasso. Jeff's program, which included Czardas, a Piazolla tango, and two of James Grant's Three More Furies, would have been very difficult on any instrument, but he performed it expertly on his cimbasso. The third Fury was especially effective on cimbasso, an instrument that is often designed to play very loudly with forcefully articulated notes. Jeff finished the recital by showing the full range of styles possible on the cimbasso, playing Puccini's beautiful "O Mio Babbino Caro."
Conference Co-host Ryan Robinson somehow found the time to prepare a wonderful recital of tuba solo repertoire with trombone section accompaniment while organizing this great conference. He performed with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic trombone section and guests and it was a treat to have such a cohesive section perform at the conference. Throughout the varied repertoire, the intonation, balance, and blend of the section was impressive. The program opened with an arrangement of Bach's "Chorale Variations" that allowed the ensemble to show off their impressive power. The most notable piece on the program was the final piece, an extensive work from little known composer Vagn Holmobe called "Notater". This multi-movement piece has a wide variety of styles and features more than just the tuba soloist. Most notably this piece featured a beautiful first trombone solo and was a great way to end this impressive program.
In perhaps the most impressive display of euphonium mastery at this conference, SSG Toby Furr presented a recital of French music for the euphonium. His program consisted of Le Scooter à Trois Pattes by François Thuillier, Concerto pour Saxhorn-Euphonium by Gabriel Philippot, and Fantaisie Brillante by J.B. Arban. Each of these selections showcases the virtuosic technique, extreme range, and beautiful tone that is possible on the euphonium. The difficulty of this program and the flawlessness of its execution made it one of the more memorable performances of the conference.
-Jesse Orth, University of Northern Iowa
The Friday night concert's Mile Marker 76 by Nathan Tanouye was superb. Dr. Kimberly Loeffert (saxophone) and Stephen Kunzer (tuba) performed the unique and personal work with great polish. My first thought was that a work for tuba and soprano saxophone would not work, but the composition was perfectly suited for the two instruments, featuring each equally. This new work is available from justforbrass.com.
Dr. Matt Mireles, Director of Bands and Low Brass at Cameron University in Lawton, Oklahoma, had two opportunities to share his talents at this conference. First, in his clinic "Become A Better Performer By Studying Conducting," Mireles showed ways to interpret solo music that are invaluable to all musicians, but especially to students that may have not yet developed fully. By focusing on several key aspects of music and what we as listeners hear, he was able to articulate a unique approach to solo playing. Dr. Mireles also performed John Stevens's Prometheus and the Gift of Fire with the Texas Pan-Am Tuba Octet on the Friday Evening Concert. The ensemble, directed by Dr. Scott Roeder, managed the difficult parts with maturity and clarity. Matt's solo playing was fantastic and his ability to distinguish his sound from the ensemble was particularly impressive.
Jay Hunsberger, principal tubist with the Sarasota Orchestra and Professor of Tuba and Euphonium at the University Of South Florida in Tampa, led 30 tuba and euphonium players in an hour-long fundamentals routine. Hunsberger shared his thoughts on warming up: that it was an essential way to refresh and remind yourself of playing fundamentals every day. Another premise was that everyone should figure out what it takes for themselves to get ready to play quickly and that what works for you may be different from what works for someone else. Hunsberger also believes that a warmup should stay vital and pertinent and be related to what is being prepared for performance. Players should question themselves on their routines. Is it being done because it is beneficial, or because you've always done it? Another key concept of Hunsberger's was to find balance in your approach, avoid muscling through things, and stay relaxed in all registers. Players should have a concept of what is wanted and be patient while gently encouraging your concept to work. Hunsberger had a great rapport with participants and everyone left the clinic well prepared for their playing day.
The Midwest Regional stood out to me for its intensity and compactness while still providing a very high quality experience. The entirety of this conference took place in under 48 hours! Dave Saltzman and his studio did a fantastic job; the organization of the conference with the volume of incredible experiences from great performances to master classes to organized social events was phenomenal. While all of the events at this conference were worthy of mention here, this article will attempt to highlight the most memorable and impressive presentations.
The first evening concert consisted of two great chamber ensembles, Velvet Brown's MOJATUBA and Sotto Voce. Velvet performed an entertaining program that featured solo tuba, spiritual singing, dancing, percussion, and a euphonium quartet. This recital focused on the exploration of new avenues of expression through tuba and dance. Her program included a number of pieces that represented African American heritage ranging from Negro Spirituals to Kellaway'sDr. Martin Luther King, in Memoriam. The recital opened with Dr. Anthony Leach on stage playing piano and singing Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child; the piece grew in intensity as Kikora Franklin joined with an interpretive dance and finally as Velvet walked on stage and picked up the solo line. The result of this creative programming was a very unique and entertaining recital experience.
Sotto Voce followed with an engaging, virtuosic recital. Their program consisted of arrangements and compositions by Nat McIntosh and Michael Forbes. The program included Four Miniatures by Mike Forbes, which was designed after Anthony Plog's Four Sketches, Mike's beautiful arrangement of Imogen Heap's Hide and Seek, and a flashy adaption by Nat McIntosh of Ars Moriendi by Mr. Bungle. Ars Moriendi was filled with incredible virtuosity in all parts, impressive multi-phonics, and extreme range in the euphonium parts. The piece contained many dramatic contrasts in style and dynamics as well as a chaotic energy that made it a great finale to this exciting program.
One of the most well attended recital hours of the conference was the 11:30 AM time slot on Saturday morning. This was for good reason though, as this hour featured two icons in our field, Rex Martin and Dan Perantoni. The first half hour featured Rex on a variety of bass tubas that he played with a beautiful lyric quality and great clarity of tone. These qualities were present along with incredible precision, great phrasing, and intonation on Pergolesi's Sinfonia, Prokofiev's Songs Without Words, and Gershwin's Prelude No. 2. In addition to these beautiful lyrical pieces, the recital also featured some incredibly expressive moments in Sofia Gubaidulina's Lamento.
The second half of this great tuba hour featured vintage Dan Perantoni: amazingly virtuosic tuba playing, great stories, and some virtuosic cocktail lounge piano playing (which he claims not to do in public). His portion of the recital began with the Thom Ritter George Sonata, which he performed with great character and passion. His performance continued with his own composition She Is Real. He explained prior to playing that he is a hopeless romantic and that this beautiful piece was written for his wife. The performance ended with a great new piece by Steve Allee called TUBALOO. This piece is a bebop rock piece for tuba and piano that featured some great grooves, virtuosic technique, and a huge range.
Wes Jacobs gave an informative presentation on preparing for success in the tuba world where he talked about the three areas we should focus on as musicians: long and short term goals, practice efficiency, and core repertoire that promotes long term goals. He asserted that constant focus on short term goals does not drive players towards long term goals. Examples of short term goals that often have deadlines include increasing low register, flexibility, loud playing, or preparing for a recital. Long term goals include career goals and methods to accomplish them. Mr. Jacobs suggested that before you begin each practice session, you should determine whether you are working towards long term or short term goals in that specific session.
Mr. Jacobs moved on to practice efficiency where he explained the Pareto Principle, better known as the 80/20 rule, and related it to how we can be more efficient in the practice room. This rule explains that 80% of the learning is done in 20% of the time and the final 20% of the refinement takes 80% of the time. This principle should be used to drive our practice sessions to help us be more focused and efficient. He finished the presentation by talking about what he thought were the three most important books to use as a tubist. These books are the Bordogni Melodious Etudes, the Arban book, and the Schlossberg Daily Drills and Technical Studies for Trumpet. Mr. Jacobs emphasized that many of the exercises in Arban can be revisited throughout the entire career of a musician and do not need to be used as a progressive method.
Easily the most impressive euphonium playing at the conference was done by Demondrae Thurman on Saturday afternoon. He performed to a packed recital hall and reinforced why he is considered one of the best euphonium players in the world. His recital consistently showcased his incredible range, precision, tone quality, and musicianship. He began with Variations by Jerry Owen, a very intriguing piece that Demondrae is actively promoting through his performances. The recital continued with Prophesies by Barbara York which consisted of beautiful flowing melodies contrasted with a frantic 'chaos' section, virtuosic range, and a beautiful ending. The recital ended with an incredibly virtuosic performance of Symphonic Variants by James Curnow. Demondrae continued to impress through this expansive piece with incredible clarity of articulation, precision, range, endurance, and dramatically expressive playing.
Jeff Barbee, from University of Missouri Kansas City, presented on "Effective Learning Methods for Productive Practice." The presentation took a scientific approach to practicing and discussed aspects of the brain and how to make the most out of each practice session. When practicing, musicians should focus on repetitions of perfection, to prune synaptic neural pathways. These pathways operate on the "Use it or Lose it" principle, which means the more you practice something with zero mistakes, the less likely it is for an incorrect form of a passage to be performed.
Barbee continued the presentation by discussing good and bad practice habits. Practice should include slow and correct repetition, a high level of focus, positive attitude, and breaking down music into smaller pieces. When bad habits arise, rather than unlearning bad habits, Barbee suggested we should focus on learning a new, better habit.
Richard Watson, like many musicians, has been affected by focal dystonia and is one of a handful of musicians to successfully recover and continue with a career in music. In his presentation, Richard explained how the condition manifested in him when he was principal tubist with the Honolulu Symphony. It began with one small problem that seemed easy to fix, but once he began to address the problem, it began to get worse and affect many other aspects of his playing. To recover, Richard Watson sought the help of Mr. Roger Rocco, who went through dystonia when he played with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Rocco's approach promotes musical awareness and being able to sing everything before you play it. He also recommends buzzing everything three times on the mouthpiece before putting the mouthpiece on the instrument. This will help avoid being paralyzed by the mouthpiece. The goal should be to focus on the sound instead of how to produce the sound.
When someone gets too engaged in the physical aspects of playing, it can become paralyzing, which was explained in a recorded master class given by Roger Bobo that Watson played during his presentation. During the master class, Bobo asked a student to walk from once side of the hall to the other with a bowl of water. The student did it without spilling water. Bobo then asked the student to repeat the task, but explain every single step they took. Within two steps, half the water spilled from the bowl. Other topics in the presentation included the emotional impact that can occur to those who suffer from focal dystonia and potential paths one can take to still remain active as a musician. This presentation was very well executed and the topic is beneficial even if you are not someone who suffers from focal dystonia.
The Saturday night concert was fantastic, and while many in the audience had probably never heard of the Oakland University Brass Band, they showed why they have recently become such a highly awarded ensemble. The group played fantastically on all of their pieces and accompanied the soloists like seasoned pros. The conductor, Dr. Kenneth Kroesche, was very adept at following and adjusting to the soloists both in tempi and style. All of the soloists were fantastic; but it was especially great to see living legends such as Dan Perantoni, who performed Carnival of Venice. Euphoniumists Demondrae Thurman and Adam Frey both performed amazing solos with absolutely spotless virtuosic technique in addition to playing with wonderful tone and musicality. The highlight of the night was Dennis Nulty, who played the Vaughan Williams Tuba Concerto fabulously. He surprised everyone by doing his own unique and slightly jazzy cadenza during the first movement. Those who had not heard him play before will likely seek out his performances and recordings in the future.
Tony Kniffen's Sunday morning except session was definitely one of the highlights of the conference. This was more than just a group of fantastic players performing excerpts; Tony had a great presentation that was well planned and focused. Tony discussed how at one point in his career he realized he was unable to get exactly the sound he wanted and then that the sound he wanted changed depending on the piece he was performing. His demonstration to us was how he had found the sounds he wanted on many excerpts with just his Nirschl CC tuba and two mouthpieces, including pieces commonly played on F tuba. He has found the perfect sound, balance, and blend for every excerpt he demonstrated. In his demonstration, he broke the excerpts down into groups of four or five. He would explain why he liked a certain mouthpiece for each excerpt and then play them. All of the playing he demonstrated was amazing, but when he nailed the ending of Symphonie Fantastique on his big Nirschl CC tuba, the audience went wild. After the question and answer section Wes Jacobs raised his hand and said something to the effect of, "I just want everyone to know that what you just heard is one of the best examples of orchestral tuba playing I have ever heard."
-Jesse Orth with Danny Rowland and Adam Stevens, photos by Mark S. Cox
The six euphoniums and seven tubas of the Penn State University Tuba and Euphonium Ensemble, directed by Velvet Brown, presented an interesting and diverse 30-minute program. Their reading of The Furies by Neal Corwell brought non-traditional performance techniques to the tuba/euphonium ensemble. Furies, an eight-part work, contains rhythmic clapping, mouthpiece tappings, and vocalizations-all of which are welcome diversions from the normally homogeneous ensemble sound. In Angle East by Zach Collins, euphonium players Mitch Mest and Drew Bonner distinguished themselves with florid, expressive lines. Great things are happening at Penn State!
Kevin Stees of James Madison University was welcomed to the stage with rousing applause by his cadre of enthusiastic students. His performance of the Rolf Wilhelm Concertino showcased his vibrant, expressive sound and lyrical expression, especially in his nuanced cadenzas. Next was a work premiered in 2013, Push from his colleague at JMU, Eric Guinivan. Borrowing from his heavy experience in the brass band world, Stees closed his performance with Bel Canto by Kenneth Downie.
Among the works Christopher J. Blaha from the University of Akron played were three movements of Roland Szentpali's Visions: Running Wild , Prayer, and Dance. In Prayer, Blaha, while using multiphonics, harnessed the sympathetic vibrations of the piano by pointing his bell directly into the instrument while his accompanist, Kathy Hansen, held the sustain pedal down, providing a very interesting movement.
One of the living legends in our field, Warren Deck presented a wide ranging, hour-long lecture. The following is his lecture in a highly condensed format:
The 8 am warmup sessions were led by Chris Olka of the Seattle Symphony. Olka explained that during his time working at Walt Disney World from 1989-1996, when he had no regular teacher, he played the same routine every day and felt he couldn't perform without it. These experiences shaped his current concept that a static warmup leads to mindless playing and that in order to keep your mind and body fresh, slightly change what you do on a regular basis. Olka began the session with breathing exercises to establish a feeling of moving air in and out. Next was to "warm up the tuba in your head" by singing notes and then free buzzing (buzzing the lips without aid of a mouthpiece or visualizer) them with the goal of establishing efficiency. Olka then led the group of nearly 30 players through multiple exercises that further established the concepts he had described. Olka's presentation was refreshingly humble, honest, and direct. Be sure to check out his YouTube channel (search Chris Olka) for more information.
Kathy Brantigan's lecture Entrepreneurship 101 shared her lessons learned as co-founder of the Denver Brass. When running an ensemble, it's best to build a team to get ideas out and brainstorming sessions for marketing, programming, and ensemble direction with your team are key to success. When finding your path, the following questions are helpful: Who are you? What is your passion? If you had three months to live, what would you do? What do people need? What do they crave? Brantigan, through her long-term market research, believes that people want a social experience that is relevant to them. In an ever increasingly competitive market, Brantigan's lessons in entrepreneurship are crucial to building a successful career in music.
Recently retired President's Own United States Marine Band tubist Tom Holtz presented a clinic called Bass Lines, a primer on how to become an improvising tuba player. Holtz maintained that if you've had college music theory, you already possess the theoretical knowledge to improvise a bass line and that voice leading learned by study of Bach chorales can be directly applied to jazz. Practical hints for playing in an ensemble included being married to the bass drum for time and being sure to maintain a visual with the piano player's left hand for help with harmonic structure. Those two things along with patience, practice, and knowledge already gained are all that's needed to begin improvising.
The NERTEC 2015 brought another icon of our industry to the stage, Provost Professor of tuba at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, Dan Perantoni. Written in 1980, the Sonata for Tuba of Thom Ritter George began the program. Recital attendees were then given the rare treat to hear Mr. Perantoni perform his own composition dedicated to his wife, She Is Real, on piano. He concluded his performance with Tubaloo, a work for unaccompanied tuba in bebop style by Steve Allee.
The General Director of Pittsburgh's River City Brass and Director of Instrumental Music and University Bands at Wheeling Jesuit University, James Gourlay presented the Oboe Concerto of Benedetto Marcello followed by Szentpali's Allegro Fuocoi. He concluded his program with the Konzert Fur Tuba und Klavier by Alexi Lebedev, a piece he first began to work on forty-five years ago and described as…"a piece that, at its best, is incredibly romantic and, at its worst, incredibly boring." Gourlay's interpretation was anything but boring.
The Indiana University of Pennsylvania Tubaphonium Ensemble under the direction of Zach Collins began their program with Salutation Fanfare by Gregory Fritze. The remainder of their performance had a distinctly IUP flair, with every piece either arranged or composed by a graduate or faculty member of that institution. The eight tubas and eight euphoniums played a slightly truncated version of Franz von Suppe's Light Cavalry Overture, arranged by Jim Self. Next was an original composition from Collins entitled White Keys. The title comes from the fact that he's a (self admittedly) awful piano player and the work can be played only using the white keys of the piano. The final piece was Avian Overture, written by Jack Stamp for Collins's predecessor at IUP, Dr. Gary Bird.
The tuba/euphonium ensemble of James Madison University, directed by Kevin Stees, presented a program of works transcribed from British brass band literature. Perhaps this was why two baritones were included among the euphonium players. Adding these instruments provided a remarkable change to the typical color and sonority of the tuba/euphonium ensemble; they were a welcome addition. After Agincourt Song, arranged by Ryan Stees, they performed Slaidburn, a march by William Rimmer. Ar Lan y Môr (By the Sea Shore), a traditional Welsh Folksong, was arranged by Joel Collier, who also beautifully performed the solo part on euphonium. Their performance concluded with the Celestial Suite of Stephen Bulla.
Persevering through illness, Steven Mead performed a new transcription of the Sonata for Bassoon by Camille Saint-Saens. Mead's engaging presence throughout the evening made it feel as if you were hanging out in your living room with a friend instead of listening to one of the preeminent brass soloists of our time. Next was Le Scooter a Trois Pattes by Francois Thuillier, a work he first encountered in January 2015 while serving on a competition jury panel in France. With his wife Misa, Mead next gave the premiere performance of Austrian composer Franz Cibulka's Life For Love, Love for Life. When one attends tuba and euphonium conferences, a bit of ear fatigue can settle in after hearing so much of the same sonorites all day. This was remedied with the next work. Mead was joined by the graduate string quartet of Ithaca College (the group didn't have a distinctive name, so he titled them Three Hot Chicks and a Guy) to perform Fear by Astor Piazzolla. Another premiere performance was that of Set Adrift by Thomas Kelly. Using electronic accompaniment, Kelly was inspired by the movie Gravity. Unannounced in the program, Roland Szentpali joined Mead on stage to play the bass part of the last movement of the Diamond Concerto - Euphonium Concerto No 3 by Philip Sparke, a work originally premiered by Mead in 2012. Continuing the fun, Szentpali improvised music beneath the stories Mead told of their encore piece, Suzy from Pearls by Roland Szentpali. For his second encore piece, Mead was joined onstage by young euphonium sensation Joe Broom for an interesting take on Variations on the Carnival of Venice: Mead played the wildly difficult accompaniment while Broom played the solo.
The 9 a.m. Sunday recital was presented by Justin Benavidez and Zach Collins. Benavidez's half of the performance was the entire first concerto for cello by Camille Saint-Saens. He really maintained the nuanced phrasing and virtuosic passages idiomatic to the cello in his interpretation.
Zach Collins was to premiere the Music for Solo Tuba by Bruce Yurko, but the composer couldn't attend the performance; Siderevs Nvncivs by B.J. Brooks was substituted. An interesting work for solo tuba and tuba quartet, it captured the wonder and exploration of the heavens by the astronomer Galileo while using harmonies and forms of the renaissance motets and madrigals that would have been heard in Galileo's time. Next, Collins was joined by the Eastern Standard Trio (Heidi Lucas, horn; Jacob Ertl, piano) to premier Big Sky by Frank Gulino. The trio concluded their performance with JamBouree by Anthony O'Toole. Using a pre-recorded percussion accompaniment, JamBouree was an interesting mashup of baroque, jazz, and rock styles.
Roland Szentpali was to perform on the Friday evening recital, but since his flights from Hungary were late, he delayed his performance until Saturday morning at 11. Playing a tuba borrowed from the sales floor and playing exclusively his own compositions, Szentpali began the performance with Allegro Fuoco, a work he wrote for a competition in 2006. His vision for the work was that the very first entrance of the tuba would evoke an orchestral excerpt from Mahler or Bruckner and then quickly turn to a vehicle to show the artistry and ability of the player. Following the Allegro Fuoco was Ballada, commissioned by Gerhard Meinl for his father's 80th birthday in 2002. Around 2010, Szentpali was commissioned again by Gerhard Meinl to write a work to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Meinl instrument factory, hence the title Meinl 200. From the stage, Szentpali told that, at the time, he was interested in writing a work that was "verbal"-music that behaved as if it were a conversation. The three brief movements are titled Torso, Gossip, and The Pill is Gone. Torso was meant to evoke a brief argument between two people. In Gossip, Szentpali describes the socialist Hungary of his childhood where government agents would search for people unsupportive of the ruling socialist party. When a target was identified, these agents would spread rumors and gossip about the dissident individual, causing great social and economic troubles for them. This movement is a powerful commentary on those socialist times. The finale, The Pill is Gone, imagines a mentally sick individual who is dependant upon medication to soothe their demons, yet cannot find their pill. Szentpali closed his recital with his transcription of the Carmen Fantasie.
-Jarrod Williams, photos by Erin Stringer
A real strength of the International Tuba Euphonium Association is its eagerness to gather and collaborate. We meet in order to share information, make new friends or reconnect with old friends, and of course to promote the mission of ITEA. The 2015 Northwest Regional Tuba-Euphonium Conference at Boise State University accomplished all these things, but it went one step further. There was something at the conference for everyone, regardless of skill level or career path. From the opening concert, those in attendance could tell the conference would offer valuable information, high-level performances, and tuba information for people ranging from tuba enthusiasts to the professional artist-teachers.
The conference started with competitions in several areas including solo, quartet, and mock audition categories. The opening concert featured the Boise State University Symphony Orchestra and Symphonic Winds with guest soloists Deanna Swoboda and Aday Frey. The Symphonic Winds opened the concert with Nathan Tanouye's Kokipelli's Dance and Sousa's Easter Monday on The White House Lawn. Following an intermission, the orchestra performed Holst's The Planets, Op. 32 with beautifully played tenor tuba and tuba solos from the Boise State University tuba and euphonium studios. Deanna Swoboda played Thomas Stevens's Variations in Olden Style and delighted the audience with her finesse and beautiful tone quality. Adam Frey's arrangement of Zigeunerweisen (Gypsy Airs), Op. 20 thrilled the audience with its contrasting orchestral colors and his technical prowess.
This conference boasted diverse master class offerings. Seattle Symphony tubist Chris Olka led master classes in warming up and orchestral audition preparation. Adam Frey's session on efficient practicing opened its participants' eyes with his keen observations of common practicing mistakes, and he then presented multiple approaches for success. Tubist Adam Snider presented on tuba and electronics. Given the emerging repertoire for this medium, it was refreshing to see someone discuss it with an attentive audience. Chris Dickey led a euphonium master class in which participants worked with him one-on-one on band excerpts and the solo literature of Philip Sparke.
As a departure from the series of master classes and presentations, this conference included a guest artist recital. Ryan Schultz performed an entertaining interpretation of the standard "Effie" Suite by Alec Wilder. Tubist Adam Snider recently discovered a few gorgeous Debussy transcriptions, includingFetes galantes and Beau soir. Curtis Peacock, a Washington-based tubist and composer, recently wrote his own Titan Moon Tuba Sonata. The audience was thrilled to hear this new, exciting work. Well known to the piano community, Fritz Spindler composed a horn sonata. Chris Dickey transcribed the work for tuba and performed it on this recital. Continuing with the recital was Matt Moore's performance of the John Stevens Triumph of the Demon Gods, a powerful work suitable for contrabass tuba. Conference co-host Bill Winkle played a lovely transcription of the Tchaikovsky Romance in F minor. The last two pieces were a surprise for the audience. Steven Call, the tuba professor at Brigham Young University, played Frackenpohl's Variations on The Cobbler's Bench on cimbasso. Many people in attendance noted how they thought the cimbasso was relegated to the pit for operas but how grateful they were to hear the instrument perform on a solo recital. To conclude the guest artist recital, Deanna Swoboda delivered an animated interpretation of Gillingham's Jabberwocky.
Mike Lynch, ITEA historian, led a session on tuba history. Dating back to the instrument's beginnings, Mike discussed the changes to the instrument that eventually led to what we know today. The university students attending this conference had the opportunity to perform on shared studio recitals. The Central Washington University Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble's literature included three contrasting pieces. Led by Curtis Peacock and student conductors Casey Swart and Beserat Tafesse, the ensemble played Tangents by James Barnes, Manhattan Suite by John Stevens, and selections from Pictures at an Exhibition. The Brigham Young University-Idaho studio, conducted by Matt Moore, played folk tunes, madrigals, marches, a jazz-inspired piece, and closed with John Stevens's Power. At the end of an action-packed Friday, Alex Noppe and the Boise State University Jazz Ensemble performed an exciting recital of standard big band pieces. Guest soloists included Steve Call (on cimbasso, tuba, and euphonium) and Deanna Swoboda on tuba. Those in attendance were thrilled with the concert overall.
Ryan Schultz led a session about career paths for aspiring low brass musicians. This presentation was especially helpful for the college music majors in attendance. He discussed opportunities as a freelancer, private teacher, for collegiate teaching, and preparation for auditions. Clear, honest, yet motivating, this presentation was a hit with the audience. On the last day of the conference, Chris Olka performed a solo recital and Mike Lynch led one more session on tuba history. Brigham Young University, Washington State University, University of Idaho, Boise State University, and the Treasure Valley Tuba Ensemble performed on another student ensemble concert. The final concert featured the tuba-euphonium quartet winners and a massed ensemble comprising all conference participants. At the conclusion of the conference,
Attendees regardless of background learned something new about their instruments, gained new insight on literature and practicing, and strengthened their own personal network of people who share common interests and professional aspirations.
South Central Regional
The conference showcased a variety of great performances, memorable master classes, and excellent research in our field. The facilities at the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) made for easy travel to and from campus as well as being simple enough to navigate if you have never been on the campus before. Kudos to Gail, Christian, and Kevin for their time and effort and for making the conference a smooth and well-run show!
Performance-wise, this conference featured several standout recitals. The split recital of Demondrae Thurman and Charles Villarubia was an absolute delight and it was a treat to hear Demondrae expertly perform all of James Curnow's Symphonic Variants in one recital. A definite highlight of the conference was the Friday night concert featuring the UCA Wind Ensemble and guest soloists. All three hosts performed excellent solos with the band and presented a wide variety of music. Robertson performed a jazz-inspired work titled Up All Night.
This conference also featured several great lectures by various members of our community discussing a wide range of topics from military bands to the music of Vagn Holmboe. The lectures provided a great outlet for people to display their research skills and their expertise in various career fields by having lively discussions and well-researched information.
One lecture by Dr. Patrick Rettger focused on the intricacies of military band audition preparation for all military ensembles. SPC Patrick Nyren and MU1 Matthew Anderson joined Dr. Rettger. The panel discussed what the audition process was like for different branches of the military as well as what basic training is like. A discussion of military life and benefits also took place with each member of the panel giving anecdotes and sharing their own personal journeys in the armed forces.
On the other end of the career spectrum was a lecture given by Lance LaDuke and Andrew Hitz entitled "Low Brass 101: It's Just Business." They discussed their careers and shared stories from their touring days with the Boston Brass. The presentation was aimed at showing younger musicians how to begin a career in music. They did this by posing a series of questions such as, "What is your point of differentiation? What is it that you're doing and for whom? What else do you do?" These questions were great starting points for a discussion of where we are in the music world and what we can do as players, teachers, and entrepreneurs to enhance the community and support our families and ourselves.
It seemed as if the unofficial theme of the SCRTEC was "How to Get a Job", and keeping with this theme was a clinic by Raul Rodriquez, the tuba professor at Texas State University. Entitled "Rethinking Our Visits to the Practice Room," Rodriguez's clinic spelled out a simple format for how to effectively utilize your time in the practice room, with seven key steps. They are: 1. Plan, 2. Put the Plan Into Action, 3. Be Consistent, 4. Become a Great Manager of Time, 5. Stay Educated and Learn New Skills, 6. Listen to the Great Masters, and 7. Develop a Successful Mindset.
There were also fantastic clinics by Dr. Laura Potter on the tuba music of Vagn Holmboe, Joe Sellmansberger on Traditional Jazz, and Mike Forbes on composing and arranging for low brass instruments. Clinics such as the one presented by Kirk Ferguson on the Lindeman-Sobel-Potts approach to music education added a unique and educational perspective to the conference. Dr. Ferguson focused on how we perceive rhythm and our interactions with our instruments during performance.
Among the clinics, master classes, and performances there were several outstanding university tuba-euphonium ensembles. Schools represented included the University of Arkansas, University of Central Arkansas, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, Jackson State University and Baylor University among others.
The final concert of the conference featured the Natural State Brass Band with guest soloists. Pieces included brass band favorites such as the Year of the Dragon by Philip Sparke and the lovely "Carrickfergus."
Of course, one of the most exciting parts of any tuba-euphonium conference is the nightly hang. It is a chance for us all to come together and share our experiences and stories. However, Christian Carichner decided to pit all of us against each other in a rousing edition of tuba-euphonium trivia night. Of course, everyone wanted Dr. Bowman on their team…
Overall, the South Central Regional Tuba-Euphonium Conference was a great time and a good conference. The UCA has a nice campus and the facilities lent themselves nicely to the conference. The many other events, performances, and clinics can be found listed in the SCRTEC program online. The full program is available for download.
The 2015 Southeast Regional Tuba Euphonium Conference was a fantastic and unique conference that helped Kelly Thomas give us a taste of what will surely be a fabulous 2016 ITEC. The wonderful new facilities at the University of Tennessee School of Music proved to be a stellar location for a well-organized and thought out conference. Many kudos and thanks to Kelly for his hard work and efforts!
This year's SERTEC seemed to have focused on young and exciting new talent in many ways. One unique aspect of this year's SERTEC was the competition format, organized and executed by David Zerkel. To quote the competition guidelines, "Players of all levels on both tuba and euphonium and student chamber groups are invited to submit up to 12 minutes of their playing to be considered for a recital slot at the conference. A committee of judges from outside of the southeast will evaluate the audition submissions anonymously and select the finest performances to be included on programs throughout the conference. Ten performers will be selected to present at the conference." The idea behind this new format was to allow competitors to submit in advance instead of using valuable conference time to compete. This method allowed for competitors to fully enjoy the conference as well as give a recital alongside guest artists. The judging panel chose ten finalists from an array of strong submissions and congratulations go to these winners: Yi-Ching Chen - University of Michigan, Cody Dailey - Tennessee Tech, Steve Darling - Ohio University, Nolan Derrick - Tennessee Tech, Zach Grass - East Carolina University, Matt Hightower - Adjunct Professor Murray State University, John Leibensperger - Yale University, Josh Maberry - Tennessee Tech, Josh Maberry - Chamber, Tennessee Tech, Travis Roberson- Tennessee Tech.
Continuing the trend of featuring youth, SERTEC was blessed this year with many college ensembles giving fantastic recitals. Listeners had the pleasure of hearing the hard work and talents of students and teachers from all over the southeast and beyond come to fruition. One performance of note was Dr. Kelly Thomas conducting the University of Tennessee Tuba Euphonium Ensemble with the Tullahoma High School Tuba Euphonium Ensemble. The high school students involved did a marvelous job on their own and in mixed company, and listeners and conference attendees had nothing but compliments for the hard work of these young musicians.
In the Southeast we have many very unique ensembles and performers and SERTEC did a great job of featuring some wonderful groups. We are fortunate to have many wonderful tuba and euphonium players and teachers who play jazz. Marc Dickman and Joe Murphy had a fantastic late night jam on Friday night, as they always do! The late night jam on Saturday night with the 4th Ward Afro-Klezmer Orchestra was one of the most spirited, interesting, and fun late night jams I have had the pleasure to attend. Compliments were given all around and there was robust applause, dancing, and of course many handshakes and pats on the back given to their fabulous tubist/sousaphonist extraordinaire, Bill Pritchard. New music was alive and present at SERTEC thanks to Aaron Hynds, Andy Larson, and many other performers who played unaccompanied solos and solos with electronic media. One very unique and well-attended performance was a heavy metal concert given by the New Acoustic Metal Experiment, a tuba euphonium quartet that plays all transcriptions and arrangements of heavy metal music such as Metallica, Trivium, Ozzy, Iron Maiden, and more.
This was a very busy SERTEC that also featured many of our favorite teachers and performers giving a wide variety of recitals, concerts, lectures, and master classes. The list of performers is too broad to fully dive into here, but performances ranged from our host Dr. Kelly Thomas (and the UT Brass Quintet!) to some of our favorite southeastern performers and teachers (David Zerkel, Martin Cochran, Tom McCaslin, Kenyon Wilson, Kevin Stees, Adam Frey, etc.) to fresh new young teachers and performers (David McLemore, Chris Leslie, Daniel Rowland, Justin Stowe, Stephanie Frye, etc.) to people visiting us from other regions (Jason Smith, James Green, etc.) and so much more, including chamber groups (South Georgia Tuba Quartet, Southeastern Tuba Euphonium Quartet, 282nd Army Band Tuba Euphonium Quartet, etc.)! One of my favorite parts of the conference was meeting, talking to, and listening to Ron Davis. To this day I still have my students listen to his "SoloPro" cassette tape. Lectures, presentations, and panels covered many topics including score study of solos, ergonomics, college teaching, excerpts for doublers, audition preparation, and military careers.
Having never met James Gourlay before, to say I was excited to meet and hear a tuba legend would be an understatement, and I know many conference attendees felt the same way. Dr. Gourlay successfully shattered any expectations by going above and beyond anything we could have possibly expected. The only thing that upstaged Dr. Gourlay's upbeat personality, excitement, and humor was his performing, which always seemed to integrate his traits flawlessly. His solo recital, master class, and night performances were simply amazing and it was truly an honor to have him at SERTEC this year. He is truly a champion of the tuba, an advocate for what we do, and just an all-around great person.
The final concert of the conference featured the Southern Stars Brass Band (with Kelly Thomas on euphonium) with soloists David Zerkel, Martin Cochran, and James Gourlay. The concert was a success with the band playing a wide variety of styles of music ranging from an arrangement of Blue Rondo a la Turk to original brass band music.
SERTEC 2015 was one of the most enjoyable conferences I have had the pleasure of participating in and attending. My students and I left happy, motivated, and inspired. Once again, huge thanks are offered to our host and ITEA President-Elect Kelly Thomas.
-Daniel Rowland with James Green, Curtis Thornton, and Vinson Butler IV
The first full recital of the Southwest Regional Tuba Euphonium Conference began with a spirited performance of Jim Grant's Double Concerto for Euphonium and Tuba by Matt Tropman and Stephen Kunzer. Both performers were more than up to the challenge of this difficult piece. Also of particular note was the performance by pianist Mary Ann Ybara. It is often the case that band or orchestral accompaniment transcriptions prove particularly difficult when reduced to one piano part, and this work is certainly no exception. In spite of its complexity, this work is quickly finding a regular place in the repertoire, joining several other important works by Mr. Grant.
The recital continued with Stephen Kunzer performing the Sonata in g minor, BWV 1020, attributed to C.P.E. Bach, though there is some controversy about who actually wrote the work. Kunzer played an arrangement of his own creation. Originally a flute sonata, this is a work that might prove somewhat challenging for most undergraduate students, but the work lends itself well to tuba. For artists seeking repertoire from the late baroque and early classical periods for a change of pace, this work would be a welcomed addition.
Tropman returned to the stage and played the first three movements of the Cello Suite No. 2 in d minor, BWV 1008. The artist discussed some of the difficulties of performing works originally written for "non-breathing" instruments. Tropman's solutions for where to phrase the work for necessary breaths were all quite successful, and his playing was lyrical and seemingly effortless throughout.
The recital concluded with Kunzer's performance of the Damon-Tans from Teutonic Tales by Robert W. Smith. Recorded and premiered by Boston Symphony Orchestra tubist Mike Roylance, this work is a challenge from beginning to end. Picturesque in sound and complex but still accessible to typical audience ears, this is an outstanding work for almost any concert situation. Mr. Kunzer's performance was excellent.
The Northern Arizona University Elden Brass Quintet featured Stephen Dunn and Cindy Gould, trumpets; Nancy Sullivan, horn; David Vining, trombone and euphonium; Alex Lapins, tuba and euphonium; and guest artist Glenn Hart, tuba. The show opened with a relatively new work titled Low Hanging Fruit by John Berners. The work calls for euphonium in place of trombone in the quintet setting, and the sound contrast is a welcomed change. The work is angular and often quite complex, but this complexity is contrasted with points of stasis.
Next on the program was Hello Cupcake, a new work by Northern Arizona University faculty member Judith Cloud. The piece is a series of short character pieces that portray various cupcakes offered as daily specials at a pastry shop Dr. Cloud frequented when she was on sabbatical in Washington, D.C. Of particular note was the Velvet Elvis, which was a humorous gloss on Hound Dog, and the Vanilla Gorilla, which was a playful waltz juxtaposed with brief quotes from Iron Butterfly's In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida. Speaking generally, the music was very audience-friendly and somewhat reminiscent of other quintet classics such as Joseph Horowitz's Music Hall Suite and Morley Calvert's Suite from the Monteregian Hills.
Ruminations by Brian Balmages was the next piece on the program. It is a solo for either euphonium or tuba with brass quintet accompaniment. Alex Lapins played the solo part on euphonium, with guest tubist Glenn Hart taking over the quintet chair. The work is lyrical, beautiful, and not easy. The concert concluded with Music for 5 in 3 by Rodney Rogers, who is currently on the faculty at Arizona State University. Lapins said, "This work takes some puzzling to figure out. . . .Well, we puzzled, and we figured, and here it is." The first movement was titled "Expansive, Lively" and, as Lapins defined it, "jubilant." The second movement is titled "Southern Harmony, 1835," and while the movement is not a direct representation of true Southern gospel harmony and style, given the movement title, a clear connection can be made by the listener. The last movement, "Numbering the Stars," begins as an ebullient romp through mixed compound meter, though it later becomes more expansive and is similar to the better known music of Aaron Copland, with its long, expansive durations and open harmony. This broader second style, however, is later blended with the previous compound meter interjections.
The Copper Street Brass Quintet got their start as the first graduate quintet at the University of New Mexico almost ten years ago. The group has since relocated to Minneapolis, so this concert was something of a homecoming. Since their relocation, the group has undergone several personnel changes and has added a percussionist. Currently the group includes Allison Hall and Corbin Dillon, trumpets; Tim Bradley, horn and principal arranger; Alex Wolff, trombone; Nick Adragna, tuba; and percussionist Reed Kennedy. The group bills itself as the "evolution of the brass quintet," and while they are not the first ensemble of this kind to broaden the horizons of the "traditional" brass quintet, they do not disappoint. Copper Street Brass offered a polished and professional set throughout, entertaining to musicians and general audience members alike. Put simply, in the best traditions of Lake Street Dive, Dala Girls, and Blast (or Blood, Sweat and Tears, Chicago, and Chase if you are older), the Copper Street Brass Quintet is Band Geek heaven.
The concert got underway with Adele's Rolling in the Deep, which segued perfectly into Dave Brubeck's Blue Rondo a la Turk. Next came a tuba feature for Nick Adragna, who flawlessly performed the "Queen of the Night" aria from Mozart's Magic Flute. The only thing that would have made the performance more engaging for the general audience would have been a Pat Sheridan-esque costume to really close the deal. An outstanding arraignment of Sting's Fields of Gold followed, along with an excellent version of Astor Piazzolla's Libertango.
In addition, to playing their "traditional" instruments, several members also switched to guitar, keyboard, and various percussion instruments from time to time. The timbre change from the standard quintet sound is a welcomed change of pace, and this ability to switch not only genres but instrumental tone colors allows the group a great deal of musical freedom. Also employed from time to time was a Yamaha Silent Brass rig run through a series of guitar effects. The concert concluded with a dramatic performance of Edgar Winter's Frankenstein, which featured trombonist Alex Wolff as both the rhythmic and harmonic backbone (using the previously mentioned Silent Brass setup) and as soloist. The concert proper came to a conclusion with a Daft Punk Medley, followed by an encore that featured Brahms's Hungarian Rhapsody, No. 5.
SWRTEC 2015 Reviews
Friday, April 10th 2015 2:00
Dr. Warner Hutchinson presented a lecture; Hutchinson wrote the Sonatina in 1956 noticing a paucity of original solo literature for the euphonium. He found an old baritone horn in a closet and with that gave the premier performance himself "with his hornist embouchure." Jeffrey Cottrell easily handled the middle-range work with its bouncing introduction and more lyrical second movement. Hutchinson said that the work referenced Bach. The second short work, Deep Calls to Deep, presented as a recording, aptly performed by a young James Shearer. Hutchinson described the work as depicting King David being overwhelmed by the beauty of nature, in this case a frightening waterspout (tornado-like, but appears in bodies of water). The voice of King David in the tuba, he said, is written as a palindrome. The swirling patterns of the piano represent ocean waves as thousands of gallons of water violently surge through the waterspout.
Phillip C. Black
Phillip Black performed a recital with Mary Ann Ybarra, pianist. Their first work was The Gypsy Tuba Player in New Orleans by Keith Terrett. This charming czardas begins with the traditional mournful rubato folksong followed by a dance. One section of the dance is performed muted and uses half-valve and bending effects to give the ambience of a big warm bowl of goulash. The audience laughed and applauded the work which Black says was, to his disappointment, not originally for tuba, but available for almost every instrument.
The next work on the program was Kenneth D. Freidrich's Suite for Tuba and Woodwind Quintet. There are few tuba with woodwind quintet works and this composition is well worth the effort. It begins with a quiet mood, reminiscent of Copeland's Lincoln Portrait; the woodwinds in this and other movements are especially silky in texture. The second movement moves along briskly and ends abruptly. The third movement explores range and passes a skipping motif around the instruments. The fourth movement is an allegro, relating to earlier themes. The balance was excellent balance between the tuba and the woodwinds.
The ever-whimsical Black gave an encore after first passing out sheets of bubble wrap to the audience. He directed the audience to pop the bubbles at the correct time in the "Beautiful Blue Danube" waltz.
Matthew Lindahl performed Robert Schumann's Drei Romanzen, transcribed by Floyd Cooley, and the J. S. Bach Flute Sonata No. 2 in E-flat, also transcribed by Cooley. Lindahl approached the works with warmth and easily projected to fill the hall. The Schumann was powerful and lushly romantic.
Dr. Karl Hinterbichler started his image and sound lecture by quizzing the audience to "name that tuba" with a series of photographs of tubas and tuba-like instruments. He has amassed a large collection of sound examples and could provide anything from a serpent to a jazz cimbasso. To demonstrate the differences between cimbasso and tuba in a section, Hinterbichler played excerpts from Nabucco and La Forza del Destino. The six valve French tuba in C, he said, was what Ravel had in mind when he orchestrated Pictures at an Exhibition. He demonstrated the six valve Vienna tuba in Mahler and Strauss and contrasted the Vienna Philharmonic's use of this tuba with the Chicago Symphony. The tuba blends in rather than stands out. This is also true in comparing the Vienna Philharmonic with the BBC for Holst's Mars, although, he notes that in a 1926 recording by Holst himself, the tuba used was of a very small bore.
Hinterbichler's examples of tenor tubas included a "Bydlo" from the Moscow orchestra, and the Vienna Phiharmonic's Mahler 7th Symphony in contrast to the Chicago Symphony. A more obscure use of the tenor tuba is in the Janacek Capriccio for piano left hand.
The last part of his talk focused on Wagner tubas and their uses. Most frequently they are used in pairs of Bb and F and are played by hornists. Examples he used included the second section of the opening of Das Rheingold by the Metropolitan Opera and the Berlin Philharmonic's rendition of Mahler's 7th Symphony. Stravinsky uses two Wagner tubas in The Rite of Spring, and employs a very rare, if not unique muted Wagner tuba in the Firebird. He also mentioned the instrument used in a modern work, a violin concerto by Sophia Gubadulina. The audience was enthusiastic and most appreciative of the lecture.
The Friday evening concert commenced with Saudade by Alexa Yunes performed by the University of Arizona Tuba Euphonium Studio under the direction of Dr. Matthew Tropman. Saudade (an "untranslatable" Portuguese word) was written in memory of Harvey Phillips and commissioned by the Harvey Phillips Chapter of ITEA. The somber and reflective work expressed melancholy longing for the past.
The U.S. Army Military Intelligence Corps Band of Fort Huachuca, Arizona, conducted by Warrant Officer Jonathan Crane, presented works reflecting a "Southwestern flair." Sousa's New Mexico March, which blended Native American, military, and Spanish themes as well as the state song of New Mexico was called by Frederick Fennell "Sousa's most unusual march." After the lighthearted works, the conductor introduced his own composition, Unspeakable, a tribute to those who suffer grief, loneliness, and other losses in their lives that can barely be expressed or understood.
Crane appeared to have lost his baton and while searching for it backstage found a Sousaphone and mused that he could, perhaps conduct with it instead? As he tried out the Sousaphone, an accidental invocation of the mothership motif from Close Encounters found an answer from backstage and he was joined by the tuba and euphonium sections with their own silver Sousaphones. The ensemble commenced playing two short pieces and doing what everyone does when they have a chance-seeing exactly how loud one can play a Sousaphone. The crowd enjoyed the boisterous fun.
SGT Amanda Tetreault sang Rihanna's "Diamonds" and Katie Perry's "Firework" over a background of inspirational action footage of Army units training in locations all over the world; a "compressed version of Army life," said Crane. The audio-visual presentation was followed by a service song medley. The concert ended (as could be expected) with The Stars and Stripes Forever with the piccolo part performed for some unknown reason by the piccolo section.
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