Pioneer Award Winners Carole Dawn Reinhart and Betty Scott
The 10th anniversary of the International Women's Brass Conference
kicked off in high style at the new Center for the Performing Arts
at Illinois State University. The opening concert gala featured
the Illinois State University Faculty Brass Quintet with Amy Gilreath,
conference co-host, on first trumpet and Elisa Curren and Kelly
Watkins, the current and former graduate assistants, splitting the
second book. Before the quintet's dazzling display, Susan Slaughter,
the founder of the IWBC, got the traditional first wrong note out
of the way with a convincing "spleeah" on the opening
of Pictures. Knowing Susan, I'm sure she practiced to make
sure she would miss! Following this with a believable rendition
of extremely poor intonation, she pointedly demonstrated that the
pressure was off, setting the tone for a rewarding and inspiring
atmosphere in which everyone would encourage and support one another.
On the heels of the opening remarks by James Major, the Mayor of
Normal, Illinois, the director of the school of music at ISU (and
husband to Amy Gilreath), and cohost Sharon Huff, the ISU Brass
quintet took charge with J. S. Bach's My Spirit be Joyful.
Following that was the world premiere of Impromptu and Toccata,
a special IWBC commission for this gala event by Larysa Kuzmenko
(composition faculty at the University of Toronto). This is a wonderful
addition to the quintet repertoire featuring an initial slow winding
theme spun out in low brass and then a variety of sections - some
with dashes of scintillating muted brass writing. Out of one cascade
of slow descending pyramids poured some beautifully sensitive chamber
playing. This innovative work features idiomatic writing worthy
of many performances. Brava to Ms. Kuzmenko, and kudos to the ISU
BQ for a masterful premiere of the piece. The quintet concluded
with Four Sketches by Anthony Plog - an exciting portrayal
of Plog's rhythmically catchy style.
Next, the quintet was augmented by more brass for Karitas Habundat
(antiphon) by Hildegard von Bingen, transcribed by Phil Snedecor,
a trumpeter in the DC/Baltimore area. Separated only by a powerful
bass drum blow, Cantiages de Santa Marcia by Alfonso X El
Sabio was the second work, and featured placement around the large
hall. The second piece revealed great piccolo trumpet playing by
Amy Gilreath and Susan Slaughter - a relaxed, facile sound exhibited
At this point, the IWBC Pioneer Committee honored two inspiring
women, both of whom are trumpeters. The Pioneer Award is given to
those women who have been trailblazers in their respective professional
careers, have made major contributions, whose achievements have
garnered high visibility, and who have demonstrated courage and
perseverance over lengthy careers.
Betty Scott was honored for her 26-year career at the University
of Missouri at Columbia for developing a class called The Creative
Process and for her work in the alternate healing modalities.
The other honoree was trumpeter Carole Dawn Reinhart whose book
Aspects of a Career has recently been published in a new
edition. After studying at Juilliard and a stint in the Radio City
Music Hall and American Symphony orchestras, and being featured
on many television shows including the Tonight Show, she turned
to Europe where her career blossomed and where she remains a professor
at the prestigious University of Music (Universität für
Musik und darstellende Kunst) in Vienna, Austria.
The evening continued with three pieces with guest hornist Freudis
Wekre and friends. The moment for which the competitors of the solo
competition had been waiting finally arrived. There were three categories
of brass instrumentalists with prizes awarded for each individual
instrument. Two of the three competition winners were trumpeters:
Kelly Watkins in the 18 - 28 and Amy Nelson in the 28 and over.
The competition is open to men and women brass players and features
playable music. The entire cost of this triennial competition, including
prize money and accompanist fees comes from three years' worth of
profits generated from the Holiday Brass Concerts in St. Louis,
organized by Susan Slaughter. Much of the funding for the conference
itself comes from this funding source, and all who experience the
uplifting, supportive nature of the week were inspired to return
to their respective communities and follow Susan's lead! (JS)
2000 Solo Competition Winners Recital
The conference began its first full day by reflecting back to
the 2000 conference with the winners of that year's solo competition
offering a winners' recital for the IWBC 2003 attendees. Beginning
bright and early at 9:00 a.m., the recital featured 4 competition
winners: 2 trumpeters, Todd Craven and James Ackley; Eric Bubacz,
tuba; and Colin Williams, trombone. While the low brass provided
a nice foil to the brilliant playing of the trumpeters, I'll highlight
the upper brasses' accomplishments.
Todd Craven set the tone for the day immediately with his polished,
flawless performance of the Honegger Intrada. He offered
us a pristine quality to his attacks, exquisite intonation, and
a beautiful, calm assurance in what is always a definite "mouthful"
of a piece. Craven's control as he sailed from section to section
was consistently wonderful and his production as smooth as silk.
Todd Craven is a pearl of a player, ably demonstrating his easy,
lyrical approach even when faced with a very demanding piece bursting
with endurance-busting lines.
James Ackley chose two pieces to showcase his soaring lines and
expressive vibrato: Turrin's Caprice and his own transcription
of Vocalise by Rachmaninov. His pacing on the Turrin was
well executed with sweeping lines in the lyrical sections, and a
flashy approach for the alternating technical bits. He also revealed
impeccable intonation and provided us an exciting finish to his
opening piece. Ackley's transcription utilized the fat, thick nature
of the flugelhorn's "money range." He chose a fairly direct
rendering of the melody, refreshing in its simplicity. The transparency
of his beautiful lines spun out on a golden thread of sound - a
colorful treat for a familiar and sumptuous tune.
Bravo to both players for executing their respective repertoire
at such an inspiringly high standard. (JS)
Lauraine Carpenter/Alice Gomez
The world premiere performance of Alice Gomez's Latin Jazz Suite
for Trumpet and Conga Drums, performed by Lauraine Carpenter
on trumpet and Alice Gomez on congas, was given on June 18, 2003.
Carpenter, principal trumpet with the Toledo Symphony, professor
of trumpet at the University of Toledo, and first trumpet of two
brass quintets, commissioned this piece especially for this performance
at IWBC, Illinois State University.
Carpenter and Gomez gave an engaging, entertaining and audience-pleasing
performance of Latin Jazz Suite. This piece, in five movements,
is approximately 12'30" and, as the title would suggest, is
very rhythmic. Alice Gomez describes each movement: "Guaguanco
is a challenging, intervallic Latin and swing combination. Bolero
is like a slinky black cat lying on the window with motivic
phrases played on different tonal levels and is reminiscent of a
hot, humid night filled with reveries of the past. Mambo-cha
is an accented, rhythmic but laid-back mambo. Afro-Cuban
is performed with a Harmon mute, stem out and is to be done
in a soulful 'Miles Davis with sunglasses' style. Cubop shows
the influence of jazz into Cuba, with the technical, tonguing and
rhythmic display of Desi meets Dizzy."
Alice Gomez has written over a dozen brass compositions, primarily
low brass and quintets. She is the winner of many ASCAP awards,
professor of music at San Antonio College and music director of
St. Luke's Episcopal Middle School. Gomez was also Composer-in-Residence
for the San Antonio Symphony from 1993-1996. Her music has been
featured on several radio stations, as well as 20/20, and Public
Television programs Heritage and ArtBeat.
Latin Jazz Suite, a highly recommended and fun piece, can
be purchased from Creative Music Source, PO Box 700896, San Antonio,
TX 78270-0896, USA. (BS)
Linda Brown was one of three featured artists at the afternoon
recital Thursday, June 19 (along with Shelly Showers, horn and Deanna
Swoboda, tuba). Brown teaches at Mount Royal College in Calgary,
Canada and has performed with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra
for twenty years. She performed cornet on Rafael Méndez's version
of La Virgin de la Macarena and her own creation, The
Yellow Rose of Texas ... a Cornet Drama.
After the performance of La Virgin, props including a table,
chair, and two trees were arranged on the stage. The Yellow Rose
was then introduced and narrated by Sarah Reckmeyer. According
to legend, The Yellow Rose was a beautiful girl who "distracted"
Santa Anna, contributing to the Mexican loss at the Battle of San
Jacinto, and eventually leading to the independence of Texas. Brown
portrays The Yellow Rose in a clever melodramatic stage presentation,
in which the cornet "speaks" the part of Santa Anna's
lover. Brown showed her versatility combining music, acting and
dance. Karen Collier did a great job accompanying at the piano and
in portraying the character of Santa Anna.
Brown performed the two works on cornet with flair and a full,
warm tone. Her tonguing was crisp and clear, appropriately styled
for both the Méndez and the theme and variations of The Yellow
Marvin Stamm and Carolyn Sanders Master Class
At the IWBC conference, June 19, 2003, Marvin Stamm and Carolyn
Sanders teamed up to give a masterclass entitled "Music and
Fitness." Stamm, a well-known performer, clinician, and jazz
educator, is on the Board of Directors and has been an active supporter
of IWBC since its inception. Carolyn Sanders is on the faculty at
the University of Alabama, Huntsville, performs with the Atlanta
Baroque Orchestra, and is an active recitalist. In addition, Stamm
is an avid runner/jogger and Sanders trains for triathlons.
Their master class was eagerly and warmly received. The presentation
was split evenly between the two presenters, was accompanied by
a useful three-page handout. The messages they shared include:
- Exercise is the best self-help thing we can do and it leads
to a better quality of life.
- The benefits of exercise include increased self-confidence and
energy, greater breath control (longer phrases) and over-all better
practices and performances.
- Everyone can do some form of exercise. "Fitness has to
be something you don't think about; you just do it." However,
musicians already know how to do this because of our disciplined
- Exercise, diet and controlled alcohol consumption can improve
many aspects of
musicianship, as well as life.
- 25% of the population is depressed. Exercise is very helpful
in controlling depression.
- Small, consistent steps over time pay off in our practice as
well as our exercise.
- Exercise allows for one's attention to be turned inward and
allows the "self" to
disconnect and separate from the frenetic world for the duration
of our exercising.
- "Life is a series of habits." Find some form of exercise
you can live with, make it a need in your daily life and find
the motivation to do it consistently. (BS)
Sharon Jacobson-Stine on Natural Trumpet
|Sharon Jacobson-Stine demonstrates
on natural trumpet
Sharon Jacobson-Stine studied natural trumpet with Crispian Steele-Perkins
and Edward H. Tarr, and has performed on natural trumpet with The
City Musick, Basically Bach, Chicago Baroque, Lyra Consort, Ensemble
Musical Offering, Apollo's Fire, and the Dayton Bach Society. For
twelve years she has been an extra trumpet with Lyric Opera of Chicago.
Stine began with a demonstration of Clarke's Prince of Denmark
on piccolo trumpet accompanied on piano and then again on the
natural trumpet (with vents to correct out-of-tune partials) pitched
in low D (A=415) and accompanied on the harpsichord. She then gave
a thumbnail history of the instrument, playing an animal horn, hunting
horn, hosepipe, and various sizes of post horns to demonstrate the
pitch and timbre possibilities of each instrument. The importance
of fanfares was discussed and Stine played several examples including
the famous "Krakow" fanfare. Impure partials were demonstrated
by playing the harmonic series along with the piano and by performing
the Clarke/Shore Prince Eugene's March on a natural trumpet
with no vent holes to correct impure partials. John Hyde's slide
trumpet was introduced and Stine performed an Air from Handel's
Se l'arco on a slide trumpet. She mentioned that with the
right concept of sound, a modern piccolo trumpet and a natural trumpet
could blend well. Charles Stine (on a piccolo trumpet) and Lisa
Blackmore (on a natural trumpet with vents) performed an excerpt
from Boyce's A Suite of Trumpet Voluntaries. David Maller
performed the first movement of the Handel Suite in D on
his own D trumpet without vents.
During the master class, a natural trumpet ensemble consisting
of Stine, her husband Charles, Lisa Blackmore, and David Maller
performed the Dorchester Fanfare and closed the formal section
of the master class with an old French military fanfare L'entendard.
Stine addressed questions from the audience and allowed all in attendance
to come to the stage and try out instruments. Her pure tone and
lyrical approach to the trumpet as well as her knowledge of the
trumpet's history was appreciated. Gloria Cardoni provided excellent
accompaniment for the recital on piano and harpsichord. (MB)
Marvin Stamm Combo
|Marie Speziale joins Marvin
Thursday's evening concert featured Marvin Stamm and combo joined
by Marie Speziale on flugelhorn and Audrey Morrison on trombone.
Speziale and Stamm opened the concert with Deuces for the Misses
written by Matt Holman, a student of Marie's. This multi-sectional
modal piece featured Speziale's big, beautiful tone on flugelhorn
and Stamm's smooth fluid solos. The duet followed this with a beautiful
rendition of Here's that Rainy Day. The first half of the
concert concluded with Audrey Morrison's performance of J.J. Johnson's
Lament dedicated to Melba Liston and an original, Little
Bird Blues, a down and dirty blues with plunger.
The second half of the concert was all Stamm and combo. What was
most noticeable about the group's performance was Marvin's ability
to play impossibly long phrases. It seems that he never breathes,
adding a continuity to melodies and solos that was a pleasure to
hear. He also solos inside the sound of the quartet so that less
focus is on the melody and you hear the composition as a whole.
There is clarity of pitch and consistency of tone in all ranges
in his bebop solos that sets him apart. He saved his fieriest playing
for flugel on his own composition Samba da' Nancy written
for his wife. A final tune reunited Stamm, Speziale, and Morrison
on Autumn Leaves. The rest of Stamm's trio included Kelly
Sill on bass, Michael Kocour on piano, and Ed Soph on drums. (MB)
Athena Brass Band
|Amy Nelson solos with the
Athena Brass Band
- please click photo for larger version
On Friday, June 20, 2003, the Athena Brass Band, in its maiden
voyage concert, performed to an appreciative IWBC audience. Just
two days before, this all-female group met and practiced for the
first time. All the members of Athena were selected from bands in
the North American Brass Band Association (NABBA). Athena's conductor,
Anita Crocker-Hunt, is president of NABBA and Director of the Cincinnati
Brass Band. The announcer, Keith Wilkinson, hails from the Cuyahoga
Valley Brass Band.
The concert consisted of: Strike Up the Band (G. Gershwin),
Cleopatra (E. Damare) [cornet solo], Journey Into Freedom
(E. Ball), Over the Rainbow (H. Arlen) [tenor horn solo],
Motivations (Anne McGinty) [commissioned by IWBC for the
Athena Brass Band], Badinage (K. Norbury), Capriccio Espagnol
(Rimsky-Korsakov), The Debutante(s) (H. L. Clarke) [euphonium
duet], Irish Tune from County Derry (P. Grainger) and Celebration
(L. Condon). At the end of the concert, there was a standing
ovation. This was followed by an encore of Boogie Woogie Bugle
The cornet soloist, Amy Nelson ("Amazing Amy"), affiliated
with the Chicago Brass Band, has been solo champion of NABBA in
1999, 2000, 2001, and 2003. Though the accompaniment was a little
too loud and indecisive, Cleopatra afforded Nelson the opportunity
to exhibit fast fingers and facile multiple tonguing.
Credit should be given to Bernal Music, Ltd. for donating much
of the music used by Athena, as well as to Laura Lineberger (euphonium)
who, as one member wrote me, "was the master mind for beginning
the band and organized EVERYTHING down to the last chair and stand
that went on stage before the concert."
This was an admirable performance, especially considering the small
amount of time the group had to practice. It seems probable that
Athena could become a stellar brass band if it continues giving
concerts on a regular basis.
For those interested in learning about the brass brand tradition,
check out www.nabba.org. (BS)
Army Blues Brass Section Master Class
|Ingrid Jensen with the "Army
Blues" rhythm section
This was a premier performance of sorts for the Army Blues, being
the first outing for just the brass and rhythm section. Giant
Steps kicked off this inaugural performance with Ingrid Jensen
and MSG Craig Fraedrich as soloists. An arrangement of Shenandoah
was included on the program. Makin' Whoopie, showcasing SFC
Matt Niess' plunger work on trombone followed. The quote of the
master class was made after their rendition of Here's that Rainy
Day: "This group sounds fine without the saxes
don't tell them."
Of course, at a brass conference highlighting women performers,
special mention should be made of SSG Liesl Whitaker's great lead
trumpet performance. Her accuracy was outstanding even at the breakneck
speeds the Army Blues like to play. She has a distinctive, penetrating
sound and showed no signs of tiring during the hour-long performance.
During the brief question and answer segment of the master class,
Whitaker said that the key to her endurance was just playing all
the time and the Army Blues schedule readily accommodates that.
The master class concluded with the jazz standard Time to Leave.
Joint Service Brass and Percussion Ensemble
|United States Joint Military
- please click photo for larger version
This impressive collection of DC area brass and percussion players
was formed at the 2000 conference. This year's group consists primarily
of women from six premiere military service bands in the DC area.
These are the participating trumpeters and their corresponding
SFC Ginger Turner - the US Army Field Band; SFC Sandra Quaschnick
- US Army's Old Guard Fife and Drum Corp; Gunnery Sergeant Susan
Rider and Staff Sergeant Jennifer Marotta - President's Own US Marine
Band; Musician 1st Class Kelly Watkins - US Coast Guard Band; Musician
1st Class Ericka Schafer - US Navy Band; SFC Tammy Leverone - US
Army Band - Pershing's Own.
The conductor for the evening was Major Beth Steele - Commandant,
US Army Element Armed Forces School of Music, Norfolk, Virginia.
In true military tradition, the evening commenced with a powerful
presentation of the national anthem. The large concert hall of ISU
was utilized to capacity with all the trumpets on the left balcony
facing the audience, the remainder of the group on the right balcony,
and Major Steele positioned within the audience. Remaining in this
position for Gabrieli's Canzone Duodecimi Toni, the massive
ensemble demonstrated great finesse on their individual lines with
good attention paid to intonation.
The concert continued with a brass quintet featuring Ginger Turner
and Susan Rider on trumpets. Their first tune showcased Turner's
transcription of Handel's Arrival of the Queen of Sheba from
Solomon. This was a big piccolo piece for Ginger and had
a lot of interplay between both trumpets. The next selection was
Variations on America by Ives, arranged by Henry Howey. The
quintet negotiated their way through some precarious trips and turns
with ease. They concluded their foray from Baroque to the American
scene with a further slice of Americana in It Ain't Necessarily
So from the Porgy and Bess Suite by Gershwin. The group performed
comfortably in a wide range of divergent styles.
The larger ensemble then gathered onstage, opening the final portion
of the concert with Pima Fanfare, a noble piece by Jacquelyn
Sellers. The Serenade for Brass by Robert Starer followed.
This piece shared the workload equally among the six trumpets. The
second movement featured a soaring solo, and the third movement,
in contrast, was bombastic with "to-the-wall" brass playing.
The Prelude by Rachmaninoff provided an interesting arrangement
highlighted by Ginger Turner's brilliant piccolo playing. True to
its name, the Haufrecht Symphony for Brass and Timpani allowed
listeners the full range of the sonic spectrum. Jennifer Marotta
consistently displayed a beautiful, singing sound on her solos.
The third movement functioned as an appropriately impressive conclusion
to a fulfilling concert-but there was more! The final tune, Berlin's
God Bless America, brought out Liesl Whitaker from the US
Army Blues who heated up the familiar melody, putting more than
a bit of sizzle on it.
The audience was treated to a brass extravaganza spanning centuries
and styles - one more reason for Americans to be proud of those
serving in the US Armed Forces. (JS)
please click photo for larger version
The final concert of the conference featured the Monarch Brass,
Heather Buchman, conductor. This group was formed in 1993 at the
first International Women's Brass Conference and had their inaugural
tour in 1996. The ensemble includes some of the best women soloists
and orchestral brass players in North America and Europe. The trumpet
section consisted of: Linda Brown (Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra);
Lauraine Carpenter (Toledo Symphony); Amy K. Cherry (Brevard Chamber
Orchestra); Amy Gilreath (Illinois State University); Theresa M.
Hanebury (Houston Ballet Orchestra); Cathy Leach (University of
Tennessee); Judith Saxton (Wichita Symphony); Marie Speziale (Rice
University); and Kelly Watkins (US Coast Guard Band). The conductor
Heather Buchman was principal trombone of the San Diego Symphony
from 1988 to 2003 and now conducts the Hamilton College Orchestra
and the Brass Ensemble.
After opening with the Sokol Fanfare from Janácek's
Sinfonietta, Buchman described the theme of the program being
"traditions of brass music". These traditions include
fanfares originally written for brass instruments, a tradition of
transcribing works originally written for other instruments, and
commissioned works including the world premiere of Amy Williams'
Highlights of the program included the Sanctus by Marianne
Ploger, a work in neo-Renaissance style originally composed for
two choirs and double brass choir here presented for the first time
arranged by the composer for triple brass choir. The JB Montage
by Amy Williams was based on horn lines from the music of James
Brown. The little "snippets" of tunes included fiendishly
high trumpet parts ably performed by the four trumpet players. Eric
Ewazen's Symphony in Brass was one of the most interesting
works on the program. In three movements, the outer movements were
lively and rhythmic with impressive technical playing. The middle
Andante contained beautiful chorale-like sections; the ensemble
was at its best in lyrical moments like this.
The overall impression of the ensemble was one of good solid playing
throughout the group and a fluid approach to sound in each section.
Heather Buchman's leadership was graceful and lyrical. Each member
of the trumpet section was featured, and delicate piccolo playing
(particularly in the Copland Simple Gifts from Appalachian
Spring) all the way to lyrical flugelhorn solos (Grieg's Holberg
Suite) were a joy. Mention should be made of the good acoustics
of the new Center for the Performing Arts Concert Hall in making
the listening experience even more enjoyable. Monarch Brass provided
a stirring conclusion to a successful IWBC conference. (LB)
International Women's Brass Conference
IWBC 2003 site
School of Music, Illinois
Lisa Blackmore, Mark Blackmore, Judith Saxton and Betty Scott