Glenn’s Trumpet Notes

News & Tips for Trumpet & Cornet Students

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Posts Tagged ‘Rose Bowl’

Who, Me—Aspire to Inspire—Really?

Posted by glennled on September 2, 2011

“I was only two years old then!” said Dave after he heard me say that I graduated from the University of Washington in 1962. The tall trumpeter with his bright eyes, wide smile, and salt and pepper beard is a fellow-member of the Husky Marching Band Alumni Association (HMBAA). A few minutes before, Dr. Brad McDavid, Director of Athletic Bands at UW, had asked for a show of hands of those Alumni Band members who graduated in the 1990’s: many hands were raised; 1980’s, fewer hands; 1970’s, very few hands; 1960’s, one hand—mine!

We were standing on the field of Husky Stadium last Wednesday night, about to begin a three-hour rehearsal with the Varsity Band in preparation for the pre-game and half-time shows at this Saturday’s football game, opening the new season. The Huskies are playing the Eagles from Eastern Washington University in Cheney, near Spokane. Last season, the Eagles won the 20-team playoff and are the 2011 national champions of the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) of the NCAA. And this year, they are again ranked No. 1 in the nation in the pre-season polls. FCS is only one level below the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) in which the Huskies play.

New Pac-12 logo painted on Husky Stadium field (photo by Dan Niven)

Classes at UW begin in about four weeks on the 28th of September, and most students have not yet arrived on campus. So, it’s traditional for the Varsity Band to combine with the Alumni Band to perform for the fans and team at the first football game of the year. A few weeks ago, when I volunteered to play at this game, I did not realize what I was getting in for. This Saturday, I’ll be marching on the field alongside and among those smart, lively, 19-22 year old kids, all good musicians, pumped full of adrenaline and testosterone. There will be about 160 of us. That’s bigger than the entire Varsity Band when I was in school. “What have I done?” I thought.

Then I counted the years since I last marched in the band on this field, playing my Super Olds cornet—50 years ago, in 1961, the year the Huskies, led by Coach Jim Owens, won the Rose Bowl game, beating the Minnesota Gophers, 17-7. Holy cow, it’s like a Golden Anniversary! And this is the last year for this stadium. It will be demolished and rebuilt after this season.

After rehearsal, as I was walking slowly back to my car on tired feet, Dave caught up with me, and we chatted about the experience. As our pathways diverged, he shouted, “You’re an inspiration!”

 No—really? Shocking! I didn’t aspire to that. But age just happens, doesn’t it, if you’re lucky like me. I arrived home after 10 p.m., and my wife and I had a long chuckle before going to sleep.

Posted in HMBAA - Husky Alumni Band | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Mercer Island Sophomore Trumpeter Returns to Music Fundamentals

Posted by glennled on February 6, 2011

Mercer Island was my home for 33 years. One of my two sons (now living in New Zealand) played drums in the MI High School Band. And now my 15th trumpet student is a sophomore in that same school and plays trumpet in that same band. Also like my drummer son, she

Drum Major, MIHS Marching Band

has ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). It’s easy for her attention to drift from one thing to the next, and it’s hard to stay focused on something for a long time.

She first learned to read music and play trumpet when she was a young girl, but then she transferred to another school and did not play for three years. To her dismay, when she returned to school at M.I. and resumed playing trumpet in the band, she found that she had forgotten much of what she’d once known about how to read music. Now she manages to play ok but wants to improve. Marching band season is over, she’s moved into concert band, the music is more complex and difficult, and she wants to play it well. She realized she must return to the basics and re-study the fundamentals…with a trumpet tutor.

I am the lucky man who is privileged to help her. We started her private lessons on 18 December 2010. She already plays with such a sweet, solid tone. Now all we need to do is help her learn all those notes over a two-octave range, learn all those music notations, strengthen and train her embouchure, and develop her hand-to-eye coordination and muscle memory. As that happens, her confidence and pride will soar. She will play as well as, or better than, most of her classmates. And, in turn, she will enjoy music and her band membership even more!

She  says she had a great time when the 300-member MIHS band went to England a month ago to march in the colossal 2011 London New Year’s Day Parade (see www.londonparade.co.uk), joining some 10,000 performers from 20 countries who marched in front of about half a million spectators along the 2-mile route. The parade, which began in 1987, is broadcast by over 700 TV stations worldwide and is watched for some three hours by about 200 million viewers. This was the M.I. band’s first appearance in this, the 25th annual parade. Roughly 200 M.I. band students made the trip. The kids and community raised about $80,000 in support of those students who could not otherwise have gone. Go to the links below to watch videos of the MIHS band’s performance in London. Other USA bands participating came from Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

Almost one out of every four students in Mercer Island High School is enrolled in the band program! The program consists of four concerts bands, the marching band, jazz bands, and the “Animal Band” (see http://www.misd.k12.wa.us/schools/hs/hsband/bands.html). The successes, awards and accolades won by these bands are numerous; for example,  over 50 students were selected to participate in the All-State and All-Northwest honor ensembles during the last five years.

Next year, they will march again in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California. Hmmmm….now if only the UW Husky football team can just win enough games next season, maybe they’ll get to play in the Rose Bowl game itself. Go, Huskies! And then she and her fellow M.I. band members can watch our own Seattle team play there. It’s so much fun to be in band!  🙂

There are at least four videos of the MIHS Marching Band’s performance in London on YouTube:

Posted in New Students - Intro Posts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Christmas Eve Concert–Cornet and Piano Duet

Posted by glennled on December 30, 2009

"O Holy Night"

The Christmas Eve tradition in our family, hosted in our home, goes like this. All family members who are in town come over for dinner. (We have two grown sons, a daughter and three grandkids in southern California, Las Vegas, and New Zealand.) This year we were 10 locals (including four grandchildren) around our dining room table. After dinner, we sing Christmas carols. My wife is a piano instructor. While she plays, everyone sings the lyrics from the songbook she created a few years ago, especially for this annual occasion. Once, one of our local grandsons played the clarinet for us. This year it was my turn to solo at the family concert. I played “O Holy Night,” accompanied by my wife. Our daughter videoed our duet. I encouraged all my students to play something for their families during their own holiday festivities.

After Bible readings from Luke and Isaiah about Jesus Christ, the Messiah, and prayer, we do what the kids have been patiently waiting for: open presents! Finally, there is an evening snack, and they all go home, stomachs full, arms and hands laden with prize gifts, faces beaming, and eyes sparkling. Santa Claus is coming tonight!

My cornet is a “Super Olds” model with the nickel-silver rimmed bell, made by F.E. Olds & Son in Los Angeles. Miles Davis, Freddie Hubbard, Lee Morgan, Louis Prima, and Raphael Mendez are among those who played various Olds instruments. Olds started making trombones in about 1910, and later added other brass instruments, introducing the Super Olds line in 1932. My cornet ranked in the mid-range of the various Olds models of its time. Today, the equivalent horn probably costs about $1,700. Mine cost my parents $250, and I was so proud! Why did I choose a cornet? Simple: our high school band director specified that we all play cornets, not trumpets. He preferred the cornet’s more mellow tone and wanted a cornet section, not a trumpet section, in his band.

My Super Olds has been around. I played it all through high school and college. It took me to All-State Band in Texas and on music scholarship to Abilene Christian College and the University of Washington. It went to the Rose Bowl when we marched in the Rose Bowl Parade and gave a half-time performance during the football game: UW Huskies beat U of Minnesota Gophers, 17-7. Now I play it in the Husky Alumni Band.

I’ve played my Super Olds in concert, jazz, dance, and pep bands, in orchestras for operas and musicals, and in a U.S. Navy bugle corps. It’s traveled from Texas to Washington to Rhode Island. And now I’ve played it in a duet with my lovely wife in our own warm living room for our own special family. Yes, my horn looks a little worn, but it plays as well as ever. I like that.

Posted in Musical Events at Home | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

 
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