Glenn’s Trumpet Notes

News & Tips for Trumpet & Cornet Students

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Archive for June, 2018

Milestone—My First Tutored Student’s Last Concert at Garfield High School

Posted by glennled on June 26, 2018

 

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Benjamin Laverde, Principal Tubist, Senior, Garfield Symphony Orchestra, 2018, conducted by Kimberly Roy

 

“Become Your Best!” is the motto I printed on my business card in 2009 when I began private tutoring of trumpet and cornet students. In the nine years I’ve been doing this, the most accomplished musician to whom I ever gave private lessons just graduated from Garfield High School and will attend Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts this fall. He is Benjamin Laverde, tubist.

Benjamin Laverde (R), cornetist, 4th grader, plays in his first public school concert, Lowell Elementary School, Seattle

Ben was my very first student. I taught him to play his cornet when he was a 4th and 5th grader at Lowell Elementary School on Capitol Hill in Seattle. He made All-City Honors Elementary Band in 2011 as a 5th grader (see my blog post of 10 April 2011). Our lessons were fun. Often, for example, when I would arrive at his home in Crown Hill, we would play “Hide and Seek.” I’d walk in the front door and ask his mom, “Where’s Ben?” He would be lying flat, face down, arms tight against his sides, rigid, on the living room couch. She’d say, “I don’t know. Perhaps he’s downstairs.” I’d say, “I’ll just wait here on the couch while you go find him.” At the last instant as I sat down, he would quickly squirm out of the way, and I would say, “Oh, here he is! I found him.” And we would all laugh and get down to business. He was always smart, talented, curious, explorative, and energetic.

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Benjamin Laverde, Senior, Garfield High School, Seattle

From the very beginning, he told me that he ultimately wanted to play tuba. His chance to do so came when he was preparing to enter Hamilton International Middle School (HMIS) in Wallingford as a 6th grader. At a music orientation session in the spring while he was still a 5th grader, he told the HMIS band director, Daniel Rowe, that he wanted to play tuba, so Mr. Rowe gave him a smaller-size tuba to practice that summer. Alas, after two years (2009-2011), I lost my first “trumpet” student. (But he still owns his cornet.)

Ben Tackles the Tuba

Meanwhile, I had picked up Trumpet Student No. 11  who lives in Magnolia and was attending Lawton Elementary School (see my blog post of 14 November 2010). Eventually, he also entered HMIS, and when I attended some of his band concerts, there also was Ben on tuba in the more advanced band. At one such concert in 2014, I learned from his parents that, as an 8th grader in 2013, Ben had made the beginning orchestra of the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra (SYSO) and that Ben would be attending Garfield High School.

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Ben Laverde, Principal Tubist, Garfield Symphony Orchestra, 13 June 2018

Year by year, Ben progressed through SYSO’s system of the four full orchestras which include brass players: Symphonette (Beginning), Debut (Intermediate), Junior (Advanced Intermediate), and finally, while a senior at Garfield, the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra (Flagship) where he was principal tubist. According to the SYSO website (www.syso.org), “The orchestra performs three regular season concerts in Benaroya Hall, home of the Seattle Symphony, and regularly partners with the Pacific Northwest Ballet, the Seattle Opera, regional Broadway musical theater organizations, local choruses, and internationally acclaimed guest artists and conductors.” SYSO was founded in 1942, during World War II. Ben performed in yearly side-by-side concerts with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra for four years (2015-2018).

In 2016, Ben made All-State Concert Band, sponsored by the Washington Music Educators Association. He has studied with the following tuba tutors:

  • 2012-13—Ryan Schultz, current principal tubist of the Pacific Northwest Ballet
  • 2014-15—Chris Olka, former principal tubist of the Seattle Symphony
  • 2016-17—Jon Hill, former Artist in Residence, University of Washington
  • 2018—John DiCesare, current principal tubist Seattle Symphony

Recently, when I asked Ben what had always attracted him to tuba, he said that originally, it was because he liked the Sousaphones which he saw in a marching band. They looked cool, and he liked the sound. Ironically, he’s never played in a marching band. It doesn’t bother him that he almost never gets to play melodies and solos. In fact, for him, playing bass is more fun and less stressful.

Among his most memorable highlights while at Garfield was a trip to New York City in March 2017, when the orchestra performed at Elizabeth High School in New Jersey. Another was performing in May 2018, with the famous Seattle rapper, Macklemore, at the Seattle Symphony’s “Youth. Equity. Access” concert hosted by Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks’ quarterback. A third was when he performed in June 2015, at the benefit, “Canoche, a Night with Robinson Cano & Friends.” Cano is the Seattle Mariners’ All-Star second baseman, and at the dinner were some of Cano’s friends from both the Mariners and New York Yankees, the Seattle Seahawks, and rapper mogul and agent, Jay-Z.

Ben’s Last Garfield Orchestra Concert

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Aadi Lahiri, principal trumpeter, Garfield Symphony Orchestra, played the solos in Handel’s “Music for the Royal Fireworks,” 13 June 2018

On 13 June 2018, as Principal Tubist of the 82-member Garfield Symphony Orchestra conducted by Kimberly Roy, Ben performed in his last school concert—the Graduation Concert. I made it a point to attend and mark this milestone by seeing and hearing my most accomplished former student one final time. I met him, his parents, William and Kara, and his grandparents there. The orchestra, which includes five trumpeters, performed the following challenging pieces splendidly:

  • “Music for the Royal Fireworks” by George Frideric Handel, featuring Aadi Lahiri, trumpeter
  • “Cello Concerto, op. 85” by Edward Elgar, featuring Jonathan Lin, cellist
  • “Concerto in C, op.37” by Erich Wolfgang Korngold, featuring Zofia Sabee, cellist
  • “Symphonic Dances” from West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein

Aadi Lahiri, trumpeter, will be attending St. John’s College in the fall, majoring in philosophy and math with a minor in music. St. John’s is one college with two campuses, one in Annapolis, Maryland and one in Santa Fe, New Mexico, both historic state capitals.

Ben’s Future: Clark University

Ben will attend Clark University on an academic scholarship. He says he’s undecided about a degree major, but it seems unlikely to be music. However, his parents say they would not be surprised if Ben finds some way to continue to playing tuba while at Clark.

A liberal-arts based, private non-profit, research university, Clark was founded in 1887. According to its website, it has a student/faculty ratio of 10:1. The average undergraduate class size is 21. The total enrollment of degree-seeking students in 2017 was about 3100. The average high school GPA of its first-year undergraduates (day college) is 3.63. The most popular declared majors (5-year average, including double-majors) are Psychology (17%); and Biology, Economics, Political Science, and Business Management (7% each). Ben is very impressed with Clark’s geography degree program. The Graduate School of Geography at Clark has granted more Ph.D degrees in that field than any other program in the USA. As of May 2017, Clark had about 550 endowment funds with a combined market value of ~$411 million. The percentage of undergraduates who receive some kind of financial aid is 93%. Please see http://www.clarku.edu.

Worchester is the second most populous city (~185,000) in New England, after Boston, which is about 40 miles east.

“Become Your Best!”—has Ben been done it? For now, yes indeed, but forever, no. His adult life is just beginning, and we can all continuously get better until we pass. I’m very proud of him. Viva Ben! Viva La Musique!

Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

 

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Photo Gallery of Spring Band Concert, Skyview Middle School, Bothell

Posted by glennled on June 19, 2018

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Charlie Fix, Band and Orchestra Director, Skyview Middle School, conducts 5th-Grade Band at Spring 2018 Concert

 

A full house gathered on 30 May to hear the 5th and 6th grade bands perform their 2018 Spring Band Concert under the direction of Charlie Fix at Skyview Middle School in Bothell. A few 6th grade musicians sat in with the 5th grade band to give it more balance and depth. Fifth grade band members come from three elementary schools: Fernwood, Canyon Creek, and Crystal Springs. Sixth grade band members attend Skyview Middle School. Fifth grade section instructors had the honor of conducting special pieces by their respective band sections: Glenn Ledbetter (brass), Matt Simmons (woodwinds), and Jane Lin (percussion); Mr. Fix conducted the flute section. The next day, the 5th graders had a farewell party in the school cafeteria. Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

5th Grade Band

 

6th Grade Band

 

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Three “Taps” on Memorial Day In Lynnwood, Seattle, and Mercer Island

Posted by glennled on June 6, 2018

 

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Skyline Towers Retirement Community, Seattle

This Memorial Day was a first for me—I played bugle calls at three different ceremonies, first in Lynnwood (11 am), then in downtown Seattle (1:30 pm), and finally, on Mercer Island (2:30 pm).

In downtown Lynnwood, VFW Post 1040 hosted its annual Memorial Day ceremony at Veterans Park. We used the bugle calls, “Assembly,” to commence the program, “Echo Taps” to honor those who died in military service, and “To the Color” to hoist the flag to full mast at noon. Gavin Itzka, trumpeter, Skyview Middle School, Bothell, played the echo part of “Echo Taps.” The VFW Post 1040 Honor Guard fired the rifle salute, and the Nile Shriners Legion of Honor Color Guard presented the colors. The Northwest Junior Pipe Band, under the direction of Kevin Auld, played six pieces, including “Scotland the Brave,” “The Marine Corps Hymn,” and “Going Home,” paying tribute to all veterans, firefighters, and police officers. Boy Scouts Troop 49 of Lynnwood and Cub Scout Pack 331 of Edmonds placed the flags throughout the park, distributed the programs, and presented the Armed Forces flags as the “Armed Forces Medley” was played through the sound system supplied by Sound Church of Lynnwood. Lt. Col. Dan Matthews, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), gave an inspirational keynote speech. For more information about these organizations, please see:

 

The ceremony at Skyline on First Hill in Seattle, a Presbyterian retirement community, was quite unique. It’s called the “Sparkle Release” memorial ceremony because, as the names of Seattle-ite servicemen and women who were lost in the past year are read by Rev. Elizabeth Graham, the attendees release into the wind brightly colored threads meant to attract birds who then use them in building their nests. “It’s about rebirth and hope for the new life that is to come,” said Rev. Graham. The courtyard setting and the Seattle skyline view IMG_5592from in between the two Skyline buildings are spectacular. The south building is Skyline Terraces, for assisted living, and the north building is Skyline Towers, for independent living (please see my blog posts of 10 Nov. 2016 and 19 Nov. 2017). At the conclusion of the ceremony, I sounded “Taps” on my Getzen bugle.

From there, I hustled across the I-90 floating bridge to Island House Retirement Community in downtown Mercer Island, where about 50 residents had gathered for their Memorial Day ceremony. Sounding “Taps” was incorporated into the program. As I sounded those 24 notes, several veterans in the audience, wearing their VFW and American Legion caps, stood and saluted in honor of their fallen comrades in arms.

Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

 

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