Trombone Spring Break!
By Chris Van Hof ~ Posted Sat, 03/27/2010 - 7:34am
Earlier this month, I was gone and off the air for a whole week. I thought I'd try Skyaking for a bit--didn't work out so well. After multiple bird strikes and $17,000 worth of skyaks destroyed, I decided on a safer endeavor and played racquetball. Actually, I was at the Eastern Trombone Workshop at Fort Meyer in Alexandria, VA. This is a yearly gathering of trombonists from across the land, sponsored by the United States Army Band. In other words, it's my trombone-nerd dream come true.
I was there for a specific reason, too, not just nerd-dom. I was invited by my alma mater, Western Michigan University, to write an arrangement of a piece that would feature the unique talents of a student in the trombone studio who double-majors on voice and trombone. You see, the WMU Trombone Choir was invited to perform at this prestigious event (an honor to be sure for a collegiate trombone choir--only three or four a year get to go), and my old teacher and the leader of the Choir Steve Wolfinbarger came to me with this suggestion. I immediately thought of Hecitor Villa-Lobos' "Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5" for soprano and 8 celli. I figured this would transfer over very well to trombones, and lo and behold it did. In fact, it could take the cello version in a steel cage death match in 30 seconds (not that I'm biased or anything).
At any rate, the Choir played really really well. I even had the honor of getting to introduce all the pieces during the concert. Here's a video of Sophomore Kirsten Schaeffert singing the solo in my arrangement with the WMU Trombone Choir and Steve Wolfinbarger conducting. Be sure to check out the other videos posted from this concert--fantastic playing! Here's how I spent my Spring Break: