Date: Mon, 26 May 2003 17:00:51 -0400
From: Bryan Edgett <>
Subject: [TPIN] My perspective on the ITG Conference (long)

I look forward to few events each year with the eager anticipation I find for the annual ITG Conference. The rapid pace at which many of us operate, the seemingly endless paperwork and meetings that occupy such a large part of university life, and the march to the scaffold that frequently characterizes the period between Easter and commencement fade and the annual renewal begins each spring or summer with the conference. Seeing friends whom we see only once a year, meeting new colleagues, visiting room after room of displays (in spite of the inevitable ear-splitting parade amply demonstrated by those bent on proving that they can play high, fast, AND loud,) hearing exquisite artists, and hanging until hours most of us over 40 long ago stopped seeing provide such enjoyable experiences that I return to my home in suburban Philadelphia full of joy and eager for the next year to begin (after a bit of vacation.) This year was no exception, the conference exceeding my expectations in almost every way.

Kudos to Michael and the team for fabulous conference coverage. The tireless work they did so that we might have a written record and so that those not in attendance might gain a glimpse into the jam-packed four days must not go unrecognized. Bravo, one and all.

It was great to see my long-time friend, Tim Zimmerman, and his group again. They played fabulously well with intonation one rarely hears from a brass group, particularly at an evangelical church. I played in Tim's group for two years when I was a student, recorded on their Steadfast (then) album, and placed two students in the King's Brass. I know the group quite well. They brought their "A" game and showed what church music can be, even in a non-liturgical setting.

Hearing Al Vizzutti is always a breathtaking experience. It's just not fair. Still retaining a youthful slimness that must require him to turn sideways in the shower to get wet, he showed, as one reporter noted, what can be done on the trumpet and what most of us are sure cannot. Wow!

Jon Lewis, a former TPIN participant, now lurker, prompted to change status after tiring of being instructed in how to play by those without 1/100th of his experience (my observation, not his) played stunningly well in three performances. I have just begun to work on Bruce Broughton's "Excursions." Hearing Jon's rendition of the work prompted Larry Senese, a friend with whom I attended the conference, to ask "How come when he plays it, I don't hear all the curse words?" When I shared that story with Jon, he quipped, "Tell him he isn't listening close enough."

Jon's masterclass was equally compelling, filled with anecdotes and advice. From that masterclass came one of the most important pieces of advice I've heard for young aspiring trumpeters. Jon advised players to be careful. The toes you step on on your way up the ladder today may well be connected to the butt you may have to kiss tomorrow.

I have been aware of David Hickman as a soloist and pedagogue for some time. I never have studied with him, nor did I know his pedagogy well. But like Bill Adam, Jimmy Stamp, Ray Crisara, and other well-known teachers, I seem to hear of his students regularly winning gigs. His pedagogy class was excellent. I learned of his "pop tone technique, which I discussed with him later in the week. I won't describe it yet as it still is new to me, nut I intend to incorporate it into my daily routine. All of us who teach at the university level would love to have a studio with talent as diverse and rich as what he has. 3 sophomores played the Credo from the B-minor Mass. One senior played a Mendez solo with outstanding technique. A doctoral candidate showed an incredible sound in his solo playing. Of note, each of his 15 students spends 5-6 hours a week with him. A one -hour private lesson, a one-hour group lesson for excerpts, a one-hour pedagogy class, and a two-hour repertoire class comprise the weekly contact each of Hickman's 15 students has with him. He spends more time as students prepare for auditions and concerts.

The Dallas Wind Symphony. Wow! What more can one say? Outstanding playing. Pat Addinall has a sound so dense and powerful that you must, you simply must, hear him. And Jens Lindemann was just stellar, both in his solo recital and in his performance with the Winds.

Our own TPIN ensemble, conducted by our fearless leader, Michael, and staffed by Jens on B-flat and piccolo trumpets, and Karl Sievers, Chase Sanborn, myself, Michael Stewart, Jim Klages, Jim Olcott, and Brian Evans on B flats performed "Fanfare and Fluctuations." Written in 2 days by Ron Matthews, chair of the music department at Eastern University, where we are colleagues, the work went together fairly well. We put it together on one rehearsal instead of the usual two after the Festival of Trumpets coordinator neglected to schedule any rehearsal time for our group. Jens gave us a scare appearing at the church just one piece before we went on. He then proceeded to play flawlessly, even as Michael and I recovered from our angst.

I must say that those of you looking to attend graduate school (or undergraduate for that matter) should look seriously at Karl Sievers' program at Oklahoma. His trumpet ensemble, in my view, performed among the two best, competing with that at Arizona State. Karl is an excellent player, a serious thinker, and a wonderful guy. I plan to spend some time with him as schedules allow to talk about Bill Adam's teaching methods.

The TPIN hang was long on beer even if short on food. We had our own room, our numbers scaring other away, apparently. An excellent time was had by all.

The conference hotel's rooms were fine but the establishment featured one of the worst restaurants and absolutely the worst bar I have seen in some time. The bar had no draft beer!

Rich Szabo was a daily participant in the after-hours discussions at the less-than-compelling watering hole. If you are in the mood for serious reflections from 20 years of riding a band bus, Rich is your man.

This conference was special. Excellent events, great playing, greater friends, more toys than money, 4-hour nights of sleep, quarts of coffee, and both newly-formed and deepened relationships made this year's conference one for the records. If you never have gone to one of these, please join us in mid June next year at the 67 million-dollar, newly-constructed music facilities at the University of Denver.


Bryan Edgett