Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Kevin's Trombone Masters Recital

This post is a week late, but it's been that kind of week. Let me start off by telling you how hard and how long Kevin has practiced for his recital last Tuesday- at night, on weekends, and even at 5:30 in the morning, an hour before his jazz band starts. He prepared 3 solos, a brass quintet piece (my favorite kind of group to play in!), a piece which he directed his Wind Ensemble, and finally a piece that his high school band accompanied him on. There was over an hour's worth of music, including the 10 minute intermission. During the first piece, La Hieronyma (written in 1621), I could tell he was a little nervous and played it a bit on the technical side. But for the second and especially the third pieces, his anxiety dropped away and he played two very dynamic pieces with incredible feeling and virtuosity. Concerto per Trombone by G. Christoph Wagenseil (1741), and John Davison's Sonata (1957) in 3 movements. This third piece, was my favorite of the evening- so beautiful and flowing!

After the intermission, his brass quintet played Toccata by Girolamo Frescobaldi, the Canadian Brass version arranged by Fred Mills. This is my second absolute favorite brass ensemble piece (the first being Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor), and it was fantastic to hear performed. Steve Martin played trumpet, Josh Dunlap played piccolo trumpet, Kevin on trombone, Kevin Meitscke on french horn, and Cody Forcier on tuba. I've been lucky enough to perform with all of these guys at one point or another, with the exception of the horn player (who was awesome!)

Next, Kevin directed a piece called Communion, written by Carl Strommen, performed by the Galena High School Wind Ensemble. It has the theme of Be Thou My Vision, which I've been singing half my life at church. The tears started leaking during this piece, not only because I miss singing terribly, but also because it hit me how much we've grown since we met at band camp 15 years ago. And now he's up there directing his own bands and performing his master's recital and I am so incredibly proud of how far Kevin has come both professionally and in his own playing since then. He is a very expressive conductor. I wanted to attach a video clip of that piece so you could see Kevin's conducting style, but Blogger wasn't cooperating with me today.

The final piece was called Annie Laurie by Arthur Pryor and was written for trombone solo accompanied with a wind ensemble. This piece has SO many notes ranging all over the scale, skipping octaves, not to mention at tempo de presto. One of our UNR Wind Symphony peers (and probably the best flautist I know!), Dan Barthel conducted Kevin's band (since he's not quite able to conduct and play at the same time):

Talk about ending with a crazy piece to showcase your talent with! Thank you everyone for the support you've given Kevin during this stressful, but wisdom-building experience, to the performers mention above, Dr. McGrannahan (his trombone teacher and adviser) to Sue Goodenow who played wonderfully on the piano accompaniments, and to our great friend Dan for conducting the final piece. Finally, thanks to the 100+ people who were able to attend this once in a life time performance!


George said...

Comment, coment comment. Great show! ... coment comment :p

Actually Kevin did a great job and I think he outplayed the Galena band for at least the first 3/4 of the show. It was very nice and overall I am glad to have been able to take the break from my studies to go there... btw - comment comment *sploosh*

Anonymous said...

Truly impressive bro!! Congratulations!! Wish we were there. But thanks Amber for sharing on the blog, so that we can all feel like being present. Is it possible to get a disc of the recording? p.s. It's real fun to see Kev in tux and those laced-up tuxedo shoes! -Yan

Gretchen said...

Wow, looks like it was an amazing night, congrats to Kevin!! It'd be cool to see a video clip if Blogger ever decides to cooperate. :)