What I Did Over Summer “Vacation”.

August 18, 2015

It’s that time again.  My lovely hometown of Bloomington, Indiana is being overrun with moving trucks, nervous parents, and new students.  Target looks like a warehouse of dorm supplies.  A new school year is upon us.

That means it’s a good time to take a quick look back over the summer and see what, if anything, got done.  When you live on an academic calendar, the year breaks into three distinct parts:

FIRST SEMESTER- where we can use the excuse, “but it’s just the beginning of the year” way too long…right up until “well, it’s almost Thanksgiving, so the semester is basically over.”

SECOND SEMESTER- where we can start with “but I just got back from Winter Break” until Spring Break is in view.


SUMMER- where “but I was in school all year…I’m just going to take a little time off” can leave you heading back to school wondering what happened.

So let’s take a look back at this Summer and see how we did.

Summer can be the time you can really focus on what you want to be doing.  During the school year, your responsibilities also include what your teacher is giving you and what you’re playing in ensembles.  Part of your regular practice should always include what you want to be doing as well.  Summer can be a time where this gets more attention.

There were three projects I was really looking forward to this summer.

First was being part of Bert Truax’s Trumpet Camp.  It’s a terrific camp in Dallas.  Bert brings in a different guest artist, with a different performance emphasis, each day.  The guest works with the students during the day, and puts on a recital that evening.  Being brought in as a lead/commercial player makes programming the recital difficult, as I am working with only a pianist.  I took this opportunity to program works I’d never performed before, but always wanted to play, that would highlight stylistic versatility.  I included two movements of Toot Suite (the C trumpet and Flugelhorn movements), and the unaccompanied piece I Remember… by Dana Wilson.  My experience at the camp was fantastic, and the recital was very well received.

Second was a Faculty Brass Quintet concert at with some of my colleagues at IU.  We’ve talked about doing something like this in the past, but our schedules never line up exactly right.  This summer it finally happened.  We got together for several rehearsals over a three week period and put together quite a program.  Having Jeff Nelsen as the hornist, we included some Canadian Brass pieces- the Little Fugue in G Minor and Beale St. Blues.  With Dan Perantoni playing tuba, we played pieces written for the St. Louis Brass Quintet- Tony Plog’s Four Sketches and Joey Sellers’ arrangement of Sweet Georgia Brown.  Carl Lenthe brought Enrique Crespo’s Suite Americana No. 1 to the group.  It’s a very challenging piece that is well worth the effort. John Rommel and I do a fair amount of recording together in Indianapolis, but getting to play with him, Jeff, Carl, and Dan in this setting was truly a treat.  I hope it’s something we’ll do again.

Third was a recording project with Tromba Mundi.  This will be our third recording, and on it is a wide variety of music for trumpet ensemble.  Several of the pieces on the recording are brand new and written especially for us.  I always enjoy the time we get to spend together, and the week we had in August was no exception.  Those of you who know me know I like playing a wide variety of horns on a daily basis.  The bass trumpet has become a fixture in the group.  On this recording I played six different trumpets: Bb, C, Eb, piccolo, alto, and bass (what…no flugel?).  As much as I did not enjoy carrying all of these instruments around, I did enjoy the opportunity to record with each of them.  I’ll let you know when the recording is out, but (shameless plug alert!) we are playing in Carnegie Hall on October 7.  Come on out and hear us.

These three experiences would all be much more difficult to accomplish during the school year.  And that’s not to say that the rest of the summer was spent with my feet up.  I had a great time playing with the St. Louis and Indianapolis Symphony Orchestras, and teaching at Performing Arts Institute and Birch Creek Performing Arts Center.  Getting the time to prepare and perform a full solo recital, a brass quintet concert, and a trumpet ensemble recording leaves me feeling that my summer was well spent.

I hope yours was as well.


One comment

  1. Sounds like a great summer Joey. Look forward to hearing the recording.

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