ARMYTEC Review (long!)

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Posted by Andy Smith on January 28, 2001 at 23:31:33:

Hi everyone,

I hope that all of you who did attend the conference this weekend got back
safe and sound, and for those of you who didn't (shame on you), here's a
little bit of a recap of events:

First of all, if you really want to hear some of the most incredible playing
I've heard in my life, get yourself a copy of Roland Szentpali's "I Killed My
Lips." Roland made his US debut at this conference, and, in my opinion,
stole the spotlight. This man is a former student of Roger Bobo and really
just knows how to play the tuba extremely well. There are both classical and
more show-offy pieces on this CD, and it's well worth the money.

Demondrae Thurman, whom I haven't heard of until recently, is another great
player. He plays with such a full sound and it's so sweet, it'll melt your
heart. I'll also give the same comments to Craig Fuller, who is teaches at
Nebraska University, and to Jukka Myllys, a Finnish euphoniumist. Jukka gave
a fantastic masterclass and a fabulous lecture on Finnish brass traditions.

Jun Yamaoka is a really great jazz euphoniumist. He just knows how to
improvise and make it sound easy, but at the same time, stay in the style
needed for that piece. For someone who isn't as familiar with our language
as one of us is, he also knows how to get his points across on how to
improvise as well.

Sean played the pants off of the Schumann Adagio and Allegro. I was really impressed by all the soloists at the recital for all the new military guys (I liked to call it the Indiana Alumni Recital).

The MJT project, which R. Winston Morris put together, is good, if you like a
lot of tubas and euphoniums playing jazz together with a rhythm section.

Now, if you're looking for a new horn, my suggestion is this: wait for 6-12
months for the new Besson CC tuba to come out. This horn is a large 4/4 CC,
that was designed with the help of Walter Nirschl. It has the same valve
section that is on the Nirschl York Copy, and has one of the nicest sounds
I've heard in a long time. Plus, it's also at a reasonable price. You can't
go wrong with a horn like this.

On a more personal note, however, I have a message to all of the amateurs out
here, as well as the lurkers. Please don't put yourselves down all the time
and say that you know nothing about the tuba, or that you stink at it. If
you've been playing tuba and/or euphonium for any length of time, then God
bless you. It's great to hear of people who continue to play, and I'm always
happier when I play with people who want to be there, as apposed to those who
just want to pass the class and get the credits they need to graduate. How
many high school music teachers do you know that play on an active basis?
I'd bet the answer is surprisingly small, and there are more people that
played through their time in school, and just love to sit down and play as a
group. That's what more of us who do study music full time need to have. I
had the great luck to sit next to a lot of the people from this list during
the two reading sessions, and most of you are just as good, if not better,
than some of the people who study at my university. You may think that I'm
crazy, but I'm not.

Finally, I'd just like to say thanks to everyone who came and introduced
yourselves to me. It's great to put a name with a face and be able to meet
with people who truly love what they do. Hope to see you all there again
next year. I know that I will be back.

Andy Smith
Tubist at Ithaca College

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