Contrasts That Work
of the largest department stores in the nation of Finland is Stockmann's.
They have a motto that says, "If you can't find it at Stockmann's
then you don't need it". Much the same can be said for the
32nd International Trombone Festival that was recently held in Helsinki,
Finland. This festival included non-stop learning and listening
from 8:00 AM until the wee hours of the morning from August 5th
through the 9th, 2003.
Review of Trombone Day III helad at Banrty House in County Cork, Ireland. - Trombone Day III
Most reviews contain detailed descriptions of the event and a list of the music performed and by whom. There are also some reviewers able to describe politely even mediocre performances so as not to offend. The first draft or two of this review of Trombone Day III at Bantry House in County Cork, Ireland on February 21, 2003 did some of that. This revised edition attempts a different twist.
This review will attempt to capture the feelings of inspiration, hope and excitement of Trombone Day III. Ireland boasts one of the youngest populations in the European Union and that claim was evident on many of the faces participating in this event. Of course, there were the well-traveled veterans of Big Bands and the music from Back in the Day was well represented. Alan Raph, of Candlewood Isle, Connecticut, USA along with Anthony Neal of Cork, and Bob Quick of Derry were the major presenters. Each brought their own personality to bear on topics such as warming up, practicing and the history of the jazz trombone.
The group divided into two ensembles and worked up some selections to perform for the evening concert. Along with Irish favorites such as Danny Boy and Brian Baru, a stirring six-eight march tune with a driving rhythm Panis Angelicas and a tune called Bantry Bay were performed. What was most evident in watching and listening to these ensembles perform was inspiration and excitement of so many young players as they raised the level of their playing to match the demands of this exciting local music.
There were many soloists accompanied by Alan Raph and Ciara Moroney of Cork on the piano. Local bass player Humphrey Murphy and percussionist Fionn OCeallachain completed the rhythm section. Even Ari Perelman 3rd year music major from New York accompanied Alan Raph admirably on the standard Body and Soul.
These soloists ranged in age from Cillian OCeallachain, accompanied a fine young trombone student accompanied by his father to adult college teachers and music professionals.
An event such as this requires a lot of behind the scenes work. In addition, Trombone Day III enjoyed the sponsorship of Mr. Egerton Shelswell-White, a fine Bass Trombone player in his own right, Conn-Selmer Inc., Carl Fischer Music Publishers, and Joe Lynch Music of Dublin. Special thanks went to the Family and staff of Bantry House, the West Cork Concert Association and the Connecticut Brass Society.
Such a mixture of backgrounds able to discuss, perform and find common ground created in this writer a sense of hope that the future of trombone playing in Southeast Ireland is bright. Trombone Day IV should prove a very inspiring event not to be missed.
submitted, Michael C. McDonough, Ed.D.
Michael McDonough's review of the Trombones de Costa Rica
spent 3 1/2 weeks on tour with the Danbury Brass Band in Australia
and New Zealand.
Three Weeks Down Under
One might think taking an American version of a brass band to the countries ofNew Zealand and Australia might be like introducing a better brand of ice to the Eskimos but that was exactly what Alan Raph and his Danbury Brass Band did for most of August 2002. This edition of the 19-year old Danbury ensemble included many of the regular band members plus certain key editions from various New England states and the country of Bermuda.
The Trombone Page of the World membership was well represented by Alan Raph, Ed Chansky and Michael McDonough.
The bands itinerary included Auckland, Perth, Brisbane, Sydney and a stop in the town of Karratha. Karratha is a mining town of about 8,000 in the northwest corner of the state of Western Australia on the Indian Ocean.
The Danbury group is unique on several counts in the world of Brass Bands. The most noticeable the substitution of French horns for Tenor Horns, being half the size of most of the host bands of this part of the world and the fact that Danbury only plays music composed or arranged specifically for the band. Arrangers and composers heard on this trip included Ron Levitt, Arnie Gross, Peter Younghusband and several by the founder, leader, conductor and soloist with the group Alan Raph.
The local host bands included Waitakere City Brass Band (Auckland), Midland Brick Brass Band (Perth), Brisbane Brass Band (Brisbane), and Warringah Brass Band (Sydney). These bands frequently supplied superb Euphonium soloists including Riki McDonald, Dr. Alan Lourens, and John Saunders.
Alan realized that soon after forming this particular band that he had the makings of Dixieland band. This band within the band included Dan Patrylak on trumpet, Alan on trombone, Joe Choomack on tuba, Mark Balling on drums and Arnie Gross on piano. This small group captured the crowds at each stop with their unique renditions of standards such as Aint Misbehaven and Indiana.
This tour down under not only included concerts at some prestigious venues such as Town Hall in Auckland and a 19th century Anglican cathedral (St. Andrews) in Sydney but also entailed open rehearsals with the various host bands, Master Classes and clinics by Alan Raph and local trombone players including; Andrew Snell, David Chalk, and Peter Younghusband. Several days were spent with local grade school and high school students that included play-along sessions, concerts for children, lectures about brass instruments and performances at local band festivals.
There was also some time for a bit of sightseeing, guided tours, fishing and snorkeling and chances to sample local cuisine and those famous Australian Barbecues.
The cultural exchanges, both musical and personal were truly unique in this meeting of the Kiwis, Aussies, Yanks and Bermudians.
Respectfully Submitted, Michael C.McDonough