South West Regional Tuba – Euphonium Conference (SWRTEC) Memoir

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The 2009 Southwest Regional Tuba Euphonium Conference finished last night and it was 3 days of terrific artists, clinics, master classes, and concerts. Those who came were duly treated to an amazing series of concerts and clinics. Several instrument, equipment and music vendors displayed their stuff too.

Young LA Pros Beth Mitchell and Dave Holben took on the difficult task of organizing SWRTEC. Last year ITEA Conference Coordinator Tim Northcutt asked me if there was any way to have a regional conference in the Los Angeles area. There had never been one because of the busy schedules of the local pros and the lack of professors in the area with facilities and desire to tackle all the hard work. I hosted the 3rd International Conference at USC in 1978 and that was 31 years ago. When I suggested it to Dave and Beth, they ran with it.

Because I had a lot of studio work and opera this week I was unable to attend everything. I did go down to Biola University Thursday evening to hear Loren Marsteller and Doug Tornquist who were great. Loren played solos on several of his unusual instruments. Doug played some interesting chamber works by Anne McGinty and an unusual Cimbasso duet written by and played with Bill Roper.

USC tuba students (past and present) were many (most) of the stars at the conference. Tommy Johnson would have been proud. Current students: DMA candidate Dave

Holben—co-host of the entire conference and was a featured recitalist. The “Time for Four” Tuba Quartet performed: Steven Caron, David McLemore, Zee Woong Munn and Danny Garcia; Munn was also a featured soloist with a brass band. Steven and David were the finalists for the Mock Symphony Audition and got to play the final 6 excerpts with the LA Phil Trombone Section on Saturday morning. Steven was the winner–by a nose. Former USC students: Norm Pearson, Doug Tornquist, Loren Marsteller, Beth Mitchell, John Van Houten, Fred Greene, Joe Jackson, Scott Sutherland (and the Presidio Brass Quintet)—all played terrific solo recitals and concerts. Steve Ferguson brought his many tubas to display. Besides my jazz night I hosted a clinic on studio playing with John Van Houten, Fred Greene, Bill Reichenbach and the legendary Dick Nash.

Soloists and Clinicians Richard White from New Mexico, Steve Call from Utah, Pat Sheridan from Arizona (and UCLA), David Vining and students from Flagstaff, English euphonium virtuoso David Childs, Angelo Manzo from Missouri, Charlie Warren from Disneyland (another former student of mine) all helped make this a regional and classy conference.

Attendance was moderate. It was a busy weekend for many high schoolers, many colleges were out for the spring, and the usual LA problem with audiences—distance, busy schedules and apathy. But overall it was a huge success and a tribute to Dave and Beth.

The best part of SWRTEC for me was the jazz night. Beth and Dave gave me the task of organizing it. I decided to use my “Odd Couple” quintet with Harmonica virtuoso Ron Kalina

and add Bill Reichenbach on Euphonium. It proved to be a great choice. Ron and I have been playing around after our recent CD and adding Bill was very cool for me–and the audience. He is such a giant jazzman and I have wanted to play with him for a long time. The sound of Tuba, Euphonium and Harmonica was really different. Ron of course was great on Piano too. Barry Zweig, Guitar; Chris Conner, Bass and Dick Weller, Drums completed the band. For the final tune, “The Basset Hound Blues”, we were joined on stage by Steve Call on Double-Bell Euphonium. I had one of my best nights playing jazz and continue my march toward that elusive perfect solo. It is the most rewarding thing I do! Fun! Fun! Fun!

After our concert we had a jam session with 5 interested students. We had students in the rhythm section. I got to play some string bass (with long lost calluses) too!

Steve Call joined in on piano and we played a few tunes. The students had a great time and I put them through the jam session routine. The audience was gone. For what it’s worth this may be a better way of having a jam session at future conferences than the usual afterhours jam where the students might get one tune to play—while no one listens and keeps partying. The listeners to these students were the other jammers and the rhythm section—who were all into it.

Another plus for me was that Dave Holben played my piece, “Winks ‘n Jinks” for Solo Tuba and Trombone Quartet and Chuck Koontz played my “Courante” for Solo Tuba, Trombone and Alto Saxophone—very difficult pieces and well played!

As seen on Tube-Net:

Look at the line up of people who will be there holy cow!!

ARTISTS: PATRICK SHERIDAN, JIM SELF, NORM PEARSON, LOREN MARSTELLER, DAVID CHILDS, BILL REICHENBACH, DOUG TORNQUIST, STEVE CALL, FRED GREENE, DAVID HOLBEN, JOE JACKSON, CHUCK KOONTZ, JEFF MALECKI, ANGELO MANZO, BETH MITCHELL, ERIC SBAR, AL TORRES, JOHN VAN HOUTEN, RICHARD WHITE, THE L.A. PHILHARMONIC LOW BRASS SECTION, THE PRESIDIO BRASS QUINTET, CHARLIE WARREN AND HIS DIXIELAND BAND, THE GOLDEN STATE BRITISH BRASS BAND, L.A. METRO BRASS BAND, TOP UNIVERSITY TUBA-EUPHONIUM QUARTETS FROM AROUND THE WEST, AND MORE…

One response on Tube-Net

SWRTEC?

by ztuba » Mon Jun 01, 2009 12:07 am

How about that Jazz concert with Jim Self … that was just as off the hook IMO… Patrick Sheridan is SOOOoooooooOOOOOooo hilarious to watch perform … what a TRUE entertainer! David Childs is very wise for his age .. man that guy’s insights into performance etiquette etc … I guess that is why he is where he is professionally. Anyone who wasn’t there missed out big time. I don’t care what the excuses were for not going … huge opportunity missed. All the LA guys were absolutely amazing and their insights and experience they passed on to those few in attendance will benefit us all … I am so glad I went .. Maybe next year everyone will be a little more serious about investing in themselves and go to ITEC That would just be insane to miss … if it is about money … you have a year’s notice … start saving

Jim Self

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