Archive Tubafest 2009

tubafestThe sixth annual TubaFest (tuba-euphonium workshop) was held the last weekend of May 2009. Thirty players from throughout eastern Canada and the United States joined Dennis Miller of the Montreal Symphony, Mark Carlson of Sotto Voce Quartet, and Greg Irvine of the New Brunswick Symphony for two days of learning and playing. Players ranged in age from 14 to 70+ and from beginners with 6 months of experience to 40+ years of playing experience. The weekend started off with the usual gymnastics of warm ups and breathing exercises.

tubafestThis was followed by a two hour reading session for all players lead by Mark and Greg. This allowed us the opportunity to read through a lot of scores and select pieces for the concert on Saturday night. StereoSystems Ltd. Of Burtts Corner NB then treated us to a luncheon. Following lunch Dennis Miller joined Mark and Greg and lead an open rehearsal. During this rehearsal we were visited by music students from Quispamsis Middle School.

tubafestFollowing a break Dennis had a workshop on articulations and timing. This was followed by master-classes with Larry Douglas, Jon Hall, and Ken Howells playing euphonium for Mark, and George Douglas and Richard Riding on tuba and an ensemble of George and Joan Doubt and Brenda Forsythe playing for Dennis.

tubafestFriday night we had a brief concert featuring Susie Jones, Jon Hall. Glenda Metcalf, and Bob Travis from Maine in a quartet: a Maritime group formed over the dinner hour consisting of David Moore, Jason Giles, Claire Amiro, and Maren McLean; and the ensemble, George, Joan, and Brenda, from Ontario who played an original arrangement of classic tunes. The organizer, Richard Riding, was then joined by Katherine Moller to play a tuba/violin duet. Mark and Dennis finished off the show with a couple of party pieces. Following the mini-concert the musicians split into three small ensembles lead by Greg, Mark and Dennis to read through music for the next day.

tubafestSaturday Dennis started us off with warm-up exercises and then we broke up into the small ensembles. Following the morning break there were more master classes with Claire and Maren performing for Mark. Following lunch Denis again lead us in covering effective practice techniques. His message was always start and end making your best and most beautiful sound! The small ensembles then polished up their pieces for the evening concert. After a break Mark challenged us with thoughts on Baroque performance practice. The full ensemble then returned to the main hall to polish pieces.

For the final concert the clinicians were joined by Nathalie LePine on Piano. Greg kicked the evening off with variations on the Harmonious Blacksmith (Handel/Ruske). Mark then covered the range of music advertised for the concert starting off with a pre-baroque piece Sonata in G minor for Violincello (Marcello) and finishing with two modern selections from Fantasy – Etudes vol. III (Reynolds). Dennis filled out the first half of the concert with the Adagio and Allegro by Schumann. The second half of the program featured the ensembles from the weekend. The first group under the direction of Greg played Courante (Praetorius/Grey), Pop! Goes the Weasel (R. Vaughan), and There is a Tavern in the Town (Adams/Geese). The second group with Mark played Ronde and Salterelle (Susato/Winter) and Flourish (Vaughan Williams/Butler). 

tubafestThe third group lead by Dennis played Amparita Roca (Texidor/Wilkinson) and Bugler’s Holiday (Anderson/Roundtree). All participants then finished off the concert with Tuba Sauce – 1. Ketchup (Smalley), March from the Second Suite in F for Military Band (Holst/Werden), Ave Maria (Arcadelt/Olt), Toad Patrol (Goble), and National Emblem (Bagley/Wilkinson).

Sunday ten people showed up at 8:00 for an hour of sight-reading hymns. It was a great weekend. Since then I have heard people comment about the music played at the final concert – “I couldn’t believe they were going to play Bugler’s Holiday!! – and it was good!” . “Holst worked – with just tubas!” A special thanks to people who have been arranging and composing pieces that can be played by amateur musicians.

The weekend was sponsored by grants from the City of Fredericton and the New Brunswick/Quebec Cooperative Agreement, and donations from StereoSystems Limited, Assante Wealth Management, Cimarron Music Press, Long & McQuade Musical Instruments, The Antique Brass, Tony’s Music Box Ltd, and private donations. Roger Smith was the photographer for the event.

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