Friday, October 8, 2010

The Sound of Music in the Bluegrass - Part 2

Monday, September 27th - After my first fun-filled day in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, I was ready to finally play some music. Because of a miscommunication with our orchestra manager, I had not had access to my instrument in nearly 3 days, which was a short enough time to be able to regain my chops quickly, but long enough that I definitely felt like I was wearing someone else's lips for a few hours.

I started out the day with a surprisingly good breakfast in the hotel, which included a wonderful sausage & biscuit (something I hadn’t had in many months, maybe years). I got my first big laugh of the day when one of our horn players came down for breakfast, saw the wonderful Southern delicacy on my plate and asked me, “What is that, a mini-hamburger?!” No, Wolfgang, it is not a hamburger. We Americans are not THAT unhealthy. It’s a fried, greasy sausage patty on a breakfast pastry... with mustard. And it is DELICIOUS.

I was picked up from the hotel by Vince DiMartino, a legendary trumpet player who happens to be on the music faculty at Centre College, and he took me over to campus to give a small masterclass for some students and other area brass players. I thought it went well even though I was still a bit jet-lagged. I talked for a while and did a Q&A session, and I heard one of Vince’s fine trumpet students play part of the Hummel trumpet concerto. I think the students got a kick out of it when I told them that the Esterhazy court (under whose patronage the concerto was written) was located in Eisenstadt, just over the hill from my house.

Then it was time for the day’s Philharmonic rehearsal, which was open to Centre College students and faculty. We took the stage to play through a few things, and the place was packed! We had been told for the past several days that the whole town was abuzz about our concert, and this was definite proof of that. Every seat was occupied, most of them by students dressed up in suits, dresses, and even one guy in a tux. They listened intently as we ran through our concert order and rehearsed a few spots, and I couldn’t help but watch their faces light up as we played Dvorak’s 9th symphony, and later Bolero.

We had lunch here at Cambus-Kenneth Farm

Beautiful! This makes three... count 'em, THREE... horse farms for the VPO in a 24 hour period.

That's gotta be a record.

After lunch at the beautiful old manor house you see above, I got a call that Don & Louise had arrived in Danville. Let the party begin! For those who aren’t fortunate enough to know him, Don Hough (pronounced Huff... not Hue, and definitely not Hoe) was my trombone professor at UT-Knoxville, where he taught for over 40 years. He’s one of several people I’ll mention in this blog post without whom I would not have the life I have today. Don pushed me, encouraged me, believed in me, and kicked my butt for 5 years during my undergraduate studies, and in doing so taught me darn near everything I know about music and the trombone. I was so glad to get to spend some time just relaxing and catching up with him and his wife Louise during the afternoon break.

I had a total of about 20 guests that came in for the concert, and I invited all that could make it up a little early to meet up for dinner beforehand. Luckily, many of them were able to make it, and it was absolutely one the highlights of my entire trip. In the photo below, you’ll see Don & Louise, but also several other folks that were very influential on my music career and my life. Most of them had never heard me play with the VPO, and many of them I hadn’t seen in years. Ever since I found out we were doing a concert so close to my home state, I dreamed of sharing it with people just like this.

I want to mention someone in particular. Included on the far right is Tom Lundberg, who was my first real trombone teacher. My band director told me Tom was the best teacher around (an understatement), and so my dear Mom drove me to Nashville once a week from late 7th grade through 10th grade to take lessons from him. He was (and is) a master teacher, and without his early influence and guidance I would not be a professional trombonist today. In my first lesson with him, he told me and my parents “The sky is the limit”. I’ll never forget that. Thanks, Tom.

In the photo, but also not pictured are other former teachers, close friends (Vienna Wilsons readers will recognize Joe & Megan), some new friends, and even a former student of mine. I was so touched that so many came so far to hear me play, and I want to publicly thank you all for making the evening unforgettable.

Up next... the main event!

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