Brass Bands – I became exposed to British-style brass bands in the mid-Eighties, then again with a vengeance in 1998 when I lived in the Chicago area. I played with the Prairie Brass Band covering 1st Baritone, then shifted to the 3rd euph slot. I was blown away by the power and skill of the Illinois Brass Band at the time, which morphed into the Chicago Brass Band after I left Chicago.
After Margaret and I moved to Utah in 2000, I began playing with Utah Premiere Brass on 2nd euph, then moved to the Principal slot in the summer of 2001.
We moved again to northeast Ohio in 2004 and I was fortunate to find an opportunity with the Brass Band of the Western Reserve, again playing 2nd euph, then moving to Principal in 2006. It was then that I was a featured soloist on BBWR’s CD “Holy Brass”. It was a marvelous experience.
In 2007, Margaret and I moved again to north-central Missouri where there is no brass band. We attempted, without success, to form a brass band. We had plenty of interest with low brass, but we weren’t able to muster enough high brass. Will try again when circumstances permit.
Chamber groups – I’ve played in many different quintets and a few quartets, and on occasion even a trio or two. Most of this experience involves sacred and classical secular music, but in the Fall of 2009, a local trumpeter and I formed a standard brass quintet. As tuba players are a real scarcity in this area, it was then that I decided to begin playing tuba and have developed a reasonable amount of skill, though there is much work to do on this instrument.
The double bass. After many years of watching Margaret and her string player colleagues collaborate and make wonderful music together, I decided to take the plunge and purchased a Samuel Shen SB180 hybrid bass from Symphony Supply in Paducah, KY. The owner, Patty Story, is principal viola with the Paducah Symphony and is an exceptionally fine player. She recommended this bass and I’m smart enough to know when to follow a solid recommendation, so I purchased this instrument with the necessary gear – brazilwood bow, bag, and stand. I did want to have it set up with a pickup, and Patty recommended the Fishman. Works for me.
Community bands and orchestras – there have been many along the way following retirement from the Army. The Oakland Concert Band, in Oakland County, Michigan; the DuPage Symphony in DuPage County in Chicagoland; the Salt Lake Symphonic Winds in Salt Lake City, UT; and the Columbia Civic Orchestra and the Columbia Community Band in Columbia, MO are just a few. Each of these ensembles has shown me how amateur musicians can continue to make music beyond school and associated training.