What's new at yeodoug.com in 2013?
This page contains a listing of most significant updates to yeodoug.com in 2013. I also use this page to comment on a recent activity or observation I think might of interest to readers.
Click on a year below to read about what was new at yeodoug.com at that time...
October 20, 2013 - COMMENTARY
School Spirit. Everyone knows what it is; most people have been a part of it at some point in their lives. My wife and I love professional sports and have been to many games played by our favorite teams. Boston Red Sox (in the World Series now AGAIN!), New England Patriots, Boston Celtics, Arizona Cardinals, Arizona Diamondbacks. But it has been a long time wince I've been involved with the kind of school spirit you only find at a University. In my years of teaching at Boston, College sports were a very small part of the sports universe. With four professional teams that often were in the mix for a championship run, college sports weren't very significant to a lot of pepole. And, frankly, the school where I taught for nearly 30 years, New England Conservatory of Music, had very little in the way of school spirit. It was, after all, a Conservatory of Music, not a University or College, and they had no sports teams that competed in the NCAA.
Not so at Arizona State University. With ASU being in the PAC-12 Conference, sports are a BIG deal here in the southwest. And college sports are just a part of this thing we call "school spirit." Since coming to ASU last year, I have sensed a genuine pride in being part of the Arizona State community among its students, faculty, staff and alumni. I see it everywhere I am on campus. Stand still in any spot on the Tempe campus and you will see dozens - hundreds - of students wearing ASU gear. It's just what we do here. There is genuine pride in being part of the "Sun Devil" culture.
But there is more, to me, about school spirit than simply winning games. It's about excellence. About pushing hard to finish the race, and then go on to the next one. It's about making a difference, about wanting to be the best in what you do, not settling for second best, or just getting by. Sports are an obvious way where this is modeled, but I see it first hand among my trombone students who every day are working to get better than the day before.
This, to me, is real school spirit. It isn't simply about beating the University of Arizona Wildcats (although that is REALLY IMPORTANT!). It's about changing the world and making a difference.
So you can imagine my mixture of surprise, happiness and gratitude when last week, ASU named me one of four finalists for their first "Most Spirited Sun Devil" contest among faculty and staff. As it turned out, I was the only finalist from the Tempe campus, the largest college campus in the world. I was honored to be recognized in this way because it means that others see me as one who is dedicated to ASU, cheers its students in their successess, helps them pick themselves up and try again when they fall, and try to model excellence in all that I do.
As a finalist in the contest I was interviewed for ASU News and you can read my comments by clicking HERE: "Yeo Rounds Out Finalists for ASU faculty/staff's Most Spirited Sun Devil".
Have a look at the photos that accompany my interview - they are very small thumbnails above the main photo on the page. And the one on this page, with my plastic pBones in ASU colors. School spirit. Being proud of where you "belong," proud to make a difference, proud to want to keep getting better. That is what it means to me to be a Sun Devil.
October 19, 2013 - COMMENTARY
You never know who will be on the other end of the line when the phone rings. Two weeks ago I received a call from the Personnel Manager of the Cleveland Orchestra, asking if I would be able to come substitute for their bass trombonist, Tom Klaber, the next week. YES. YES.
While I played in the Boston Symphony for nearly 30 years, the list of OTHER big symphony orchestras I've played with is rather small. Baltimore Symphony for four years. Individual concerts with the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, the American Symphony and the Vienna Philharmonic. And a host of early music groups. Playing with a different group than you're accustomed to is a great experience; I have always loved seeing how other orchestras and sections do their work, and fitting into a different wayof doing things is invaluable. While I have been around the world playing concerts in great concert halls, my travels had never taken me to Severance Hall in Cleveland. So saying YES to the Cleveland Orchestra was easy. And I had a great week there.
The low brass section for the week - shown in this photo, left - was Massimo La Rosa, principal; Shachar Israel, assistant principal (playing second trombone for the week in place of Richard Stout who was on vacation); myself; and Yasuhito Sugiyama, tuba. This is a fine section, and it was a great pleasure to work with them. The program for the week was the Franck Symphony in d minor, a piece I had played many times with the Boston Symphony and we had recorded in 1991 with Seiji Ozawa. The conductor for these concerts was Marek Janowski who I knew well as a guest conductor in Boston. I also was asked to give a master class for the low brass players at Cleveland Institute of Music where my son-in-law, trumpeter John Freeman, had gone to school for two degrees.
There were other connections as well. Two former BSO bass trombonists, John Coffey and Hans Lillebach, had also been members of the Cleveland Orchestra. To sit in the chair that they had occupied long ago was a great experience for me. Everything about the week - the orchestra, the hall, the low brass section, the music - was memorable. My hosts could not have been more accommodating, and I am grateful to all of them for making my week so enjoyable.
A reminder: keep in shape and be ready for anything. When the phone rings, a great opportunity might be awaiting you. If you are ready for it.
September 29, 2013 - NEW
My wife and I are members of King of Kings Presbyterian (PCA) Church in Goodyear, Arizona. It is a vibrant faith community where we not only worship and learn, but have many deep relationships with friends who share not only core spiritual beliefs, but love of sports, food and other kinds of fun. A few weeks ago, we had some friends to our home for dinner after Sunday worship - Scott and Britta and their two children. This was their first time to visit us in our home so as we walked around the house with them, Britta noticed a large photo of the Boston Symphony hanging on the wall in my studio. It was givien to me at my retirement from the Boston Symphony on August 6, 2012. The photo is of my last concert in Symphony Hall, Boston, taken in May 2012 and shows the orchestra in full throat playing Beethoven's Symphony 9 with Bernard Haitink conducting. Around the photo is a large matte that is signed by all of my BSO colleagues. It is a gift that I treasure.
But there is one thing about the photo that makes me smile in a particular way. When you look at the photo, you notice something about me (and my other trombone colleagues, Toby Oft and Steve Lange). Everyone in the orchestra is playing their hearts out. Everyone. Except the trombones. The three trombone players are sitting still , hands in our laps (see the photo at left). When Britta was looking at the photo, I quipped, "Well, this photo is very special to me for many reasons, but I'm actually doing what I did for most of my career: sitting on stage, counting rests." Which is true for trombone players. Composers use us sparingly in most music, and the trombonist's life is one spent playing short bursts of music very loudly or very softly followed by long periods of rest.
Britta, who writes a regular blog, Girls Growing With God, found this theme of my resting so much in the midst of a performance to be intriguing. A few days later, she asked if she could interview me for her blog as she further explored the theme of rest. I was pleased to do so and you can read my interview and Britta's commentary in her two part entry: Musical Rests - Part 1 and Musical Rests - Part 2.
I think Britta made some excellent observations about the theme of rest - how our body and mind needs rest to balance our rush and work. I hope you enjoy reading this little insight into part of the world of orchestral trombonists and how the theme of counting rests extends to other areas of life.
September 9, 2013 - COMMENTARY
China. Just the name brings up countless images to anyone who hears it. Made in China. Mao. Chinese food. Tiananmen Square. Communist. Panda bears. Everyone knows something about China; everyone has an opinion.
In all of my years with the Boston Symphony, I got very close to China. I have been to Hong Kong several times, while it was still a British colony. And I've been to Taiwan. And, of course, to Japan many times. But I never got to Beijing. Until this summer.
Last spring I received an invitation to attend the fourth International Trombone and Tuba Festival 2013 in Beijing, China. The dates of the Festival, August 22-25, fit nicely with our summer plans and I was very happy to accept the offer and make arrangements to attend. I was to play on a recital and give several masterclasses for the 300+ participants and guests who would be at the Festival.
But there was another reason why I so much wanted to go to this Festival. The bass trombonist of the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing is Wei Wang. Wei is a superb young player, one of the best of his generation. And for three years, he studied with me in Boston at New England Conservatory of Music. While in Boston, Wei was a Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center and won the NEC Concerto Competition. And in his last year, he won the position in the NCPO in his homeland. The opportunity to see Wei again was a very strong draw for me to go to China. So I went.
It really isn't possible to describe all that I experienced and did in just over a week. Wei asked if I could stay for a few days after the Festival so I could enjoy some of the sights of China. And so it was that I got to do things I had only dreamed about: stand on the Great Wall of China (photo below, left). This amazing engineering feat that extends for thousands and thousands of miles is such an iconic part of our human vocabulary that to see it and stand on it was truly the fulfillment of a life long dream. To look out along its length - twisting and turning up and down mountains, sometime with steep stairs, sometimes with inclines that are so steep that you feel you have to crawl on your hands and knees - to experience the crush of people wanting to experience it at the same time - to be what Mao Zedong called "a true man" (Mao famously said that one is not a true man until you have walked the Great Wall) - to think of the labor required to build such a remarkable structure - it all rushed through my mind during my hours atop the Great Wall of China.
Then there was the Forbidden City, that ancient Palace with its hundreds of buildings, and the iconic "Mao Gate" that we so often see as a background for news reports about China here in the USA. Across from the Forbiddne City is Tiananmen Square - and that name conjures up vivid memories of 1989 - and so much more. I visited the Old Summer Palace with its remarkable gardens and waterways. And then there was the food.
Everyone, it seems, has their opinion of what makes great Chinese food. My wife and I have enjoyed many great Chinese meals at our favorite Chinese restaurants here in the USA. But eating IN China - well, this was different. Food in Beijing is mostly Cantonese style. I was surprised that rice was not served with every meal. Starch came in many forms other than rice. But I also had a great many exotic foods, including Peking duck, and things that tasted wonderful but their names are unknown to me. Perhaps that is best - if it tasted good, I did not need to have my own bias tell me, after learning what it was, that I couldn't believe I ate it.
Traffic: no rules. Pedestrians crossing the street: take your life in your hands. Weather: smog and pollution for sure, but also several days of clear air and no clouds with beautiful sunshine. But most of all, what I enjoyed about being in China were the people. Spending time with Wei - and his new wife, Ying, who is one of China's leading sheng players (sheng is a traditional Chinese musical instrument, a type of mouth organ) - was very special. We spent a night out late in Beijing - the sights, sounds and smell were a collage of unusual and interesting things. In the photo above you see the three of us out on the town, walking through pedestrian ways with unexpected things around every corner. Wei and I went to see the the China Broadcasting Chinese Traditional Orchestra - Ying is a member of the orchestra and I confess I was absolutely enraptured by the sight and sound of what looked at first like a modern symphony orchestra - except the players were all playing traditional Chinese instruments. The sound! So well in tune, such great ensemble playing, and a feast for ears and eyes.
And there were the new friends I made at the Trombone Festival. Young players, older Chinese college professors, up and coming young professionals. We spent a lot of time together, and I went to all of the concerts presented by Chinese players as they packed the concert hall to see my recital, a program I shared with my friends James Gourlay (tuba) and Stephen Mead (euphonium). In all, the Festival was a great success with its international faculty (other teachers came from Germany and France) and our working together with Chinese players.
I shall never look at the news the same way after being in China. It is so big, so different, so similar, so thought-provoking. I left Beijing a changed person and I know my thinking, teaching and playing have all changed because now I bring images of China to mind every day. Thank you, China.
September 8, 2013 - NEW
I have added photos and commentary about Daniel Chester French's bust and sculpture of Ralph Waldo Emerson, on display in the Concord Free Library (Concord, Massachusetts) to my website resource, Daniel Chester French: Sculptures in Situ.
September 7, 2013 - NEW
I have uploaded a new performing version of the Sarabande from the Fifth Cello Suite of J.S. Bach to my FAQ page about the Bach Cello Suites. I first uploaded a version of this movement in 2001. Since that time, I have come to a greater and deeper appreciation of the piece and felt it was time to update my performing edition to reflect my current thinking, especially since my edition is being used frequently by various schools and orchestras as part of their trombone audition process. You can find my new edition of the Sarabande - that now includes my written commentary in order to better explain what I am trying to do in the edition - by clicking HERE.
August 23, 2013 - COMMENTARY
A new semester at Arizona State University has started this week, and after a great summer vacation, it is good to be back at school with another talented class of trombone players. Our ASU trombone studio has been experiencing a lot of growth - from eight trombone majors in 2011 (the year before I joined the ASU faculty) to 14 in fall 2012 to 18 this fall - we are riding a wave of success. Our students are working hard and getting noticed, and after a recording session last May on which we recorded about 30 minutes of music, we look forward to another recording session in December of this year to complete what will be our first compact disc release. With the addition of two non-music major players, our ASU Desert Bones Trombone Choir is at 20 players - the ideal number I think a trombone choir can have to achieve a superb balance of blend and flexibility.
Meet our 2013 ASU Desert Bones Trombone Choir in the photo at left. From left to right: Front Row - Douglas Yeo, David Willers (sophomore music education), Alex Mayhew (freshman, performance), Katie Jahnsen (first year MM, performance), Emmy Rozanski (graduate teaching assistant, DMA, performance), Lisa Lizanec (second year MM, performance), Jason Roseth (second year MM, performance); Second Row - Mason Wallis (freshman, music therapy), Leanne Hanson (second year MM, performance), Kristie Steele (sophomore, music education), Ryan Miller (graduate teaching assistant, DMA, performance), Skyler Foster with our new Thein contrabass trombone (second year MM, performance), Joel Sands (sophomore, business), Seth Bartschi (senior, performance); Third Row - Ben Larson (freshman, performance), Roger Thomas (senior, performance), Jay Roberts (DMA, performance), Matt Vezey (senior, music education), Garrett Haas (DMA, performance), Jeremiah Dwight (sophomore, engineering), Nick Conti (first year MM, performance).
Our trombone choir is wearing new ASU Desert Bones t-shirts that I gave to our students this fall. The logo was designed by Wayne Wilcox, a good friend of mine in Michigan who has done a great deal of superb design work for me on a number of projects over the years. I highly recommend Wayne and his company, Anderson-Wilcox, if you need design work of any kind, from graphic design website design (he designed the new look for my website that you are enjoying) - and everything in between. Wayne is talented, fairly and reasonably priced and a true gentleman; it is always a pleasure to work with him.
A saguaro cactus made of trombones - wearing a cowboy hat and sunglasses - with our group's name in a font simulating bones seemed to tell our story. If you want to know more about our program - including a concert calendar of our many concerts and student recitals, information on auditioning for trombone study at ASU, photos, and links to our YouTube and Facebook pages - visit our website at asutrombonestudio.org. We've got a lot of great things going here in the desert. It's good to be back!
July 18, 2013 - COMMENTARY
This summer has been something new for me. For the last 32 summers, I have played concerts in July and August with the Baltimore (1981-1985) and Boston (1985-2012) Symphony Orchestras. Vacation came at other times of the year. But this year, with my now teaching at Arizona State University, I have my first summer vacation in over thirty years. It has been a rich time for me - time to take some trips with a trombone in my hand (such as my trip to the International Trombone Festival, mentioned below), time to read, research and write, plan for the coming semester at ASU and take vacations with my wife. This week, we returned home from a nine day vacation in the four corners region of the Southwest - the only place in our country where the borders of four states come together. Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado come together at one place, and around it are found some of the most dramatic landscapes in th eworld.
Our trip took us to Monument Valley, Arizona, one of the most iconically "western" places in the world, scene of many Hollywood movies with John Wayne such as "Stagecoach" and "Fort Apache." This was our first trip to Monument Valley and it did not disappoint - I was captivated by the beauty of the sandstone formations and we had an entertaining and informative jeep tour with our Navajo guide, Don.
From Monument Valley we traveled to Mesa Verde National Park, the only National Park devoted to preservation of man made artifacts. We first saw these cliff dwellings - dating from around 1200 AD - on our 1978 cross country camping trip that took us from New York City to San Francisco and back again over five weeks. Coming back after the passing of that much time allowed us to enjoy these remarkable dwellings anew, and we had some great hiking that took us on top of the mesas and down into canyons, to see more cliff dwellings, petroglyphs and so much more.
We then drove to Durango, Colorado, where we took the coal/steam powered 45 mile rail trip from Durango to Silverton. This was a fun ride where we met many nice people and upon arriving in Silverton for lunch, I finally - after a five year search - found the cowboy hat I had been looking for. It was time.
We finished our trip in Petrified Forest National Park, a place full of the colorful landscape of the Painted Desert and prehistoric petrified wood. The colors of this ancient wood - now long ago turned to stone - are striking and I left inspired by the artistic finger of God. It was a great time of refreshment and inspiration. Get out to the Southwest - we have beauty that is rare on this earth! The photo collage below shows (clockwise from top left): Monument Valley after a two minute rain shower before sunset, with a rainbow from horizon to horizon; me standing in front of Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad engine 486 with my new hat; Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde National Park; a piece of petrified wood - with every color of the rainbow - in Petrified Forest National Park.
July 17, 2013 - COMMENTARY
The summer is more than half over so it's time to update a bit on some recent activities.
In June, I attended the 42nd International Trombone Festival, held this year at Columbus State University in Columbus, Georgia. I have been to the ITF several times since first attending this great event in 1982. It is always a good time to hear some find solo and ensemble playing, attend some lectures and catch up with colleagues and former students. This time, I was particularly busy in a jam-packed two days.
I was invited to the ITF by Burning River Brass. This fine 12 piece brass and percussion ensemble asked if I would play bass trombone in the group for their evening concert on the ITF's second day. I was delighted to agree - the trip to Columbus fit nicely in my summer schedule. Burning River Brass has had a number of bass trombone players as regular members of the group including two former students of mine - Tom Joyce (New England Conservatory) and Wesley Citron (Boston University). For me to play in a group they had played in for many years was a serendipitious example of "child is father to the man." It was a thrill to play with Burning River (so named because they were founded in Cleveland where the Cuyahoga River - so polluted at one point in time - caught on fire) and I confess it was the first six hour rehearsal I had ever attended. But I sure was in shape!
Once word got around that I would be at the ITF, other requests came in. First, ITF organizers asked if I would be willing to give a presentation at the Festival. Looking over the masterclasses that had already been scheduled, I thought it would be nice to do something different, so I presented a paper titled, "Rochut and Friends: How Boston Symphony Players Changed the Trombone World." This historical session incorporated many images and audio samples of accomplishments over the past 130+ years by BSO trombonists. It has certainly been a productive, entreprenurial group of players who have made lasting impacts as players, teachers, innovators, composers and writers. My presentation was very well received - the audience got to hear Joannes Rochut play Ravel's "Bolero" - a real eye opener - and I am working to put it into article form for submission to the International Trombone Association Journal.
A few days before I left for the ITF, my friend Paul Pollard, who plays bass trumpet, tenor and bass trombones with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, asked if I'd be interested in playing in a bass trombone quintet at the ITF. As it turned out, Paul, James Markey (who won the bass trombone position in the Boston Symphony when I retired last year) and Charles Vernon (bass trombonist of the Chicago Symphony) were giving a recital on the opening evening of the Festival. Paul thought it would be fun to have me join them along with bass trombonist Dan Satterwhite and play Ben van Dijk's arrangement of Wagner motives for five bass trombones. It's not every day that I get to play with other fine bass trombone players who also happen to be friends, so I was happy to oblige. In addition, one of my students at Arizona State University, Skyler Foster, was planning to play the same arrangement on his recital this fall and he had made, with Ben's permission, some changes and enhancements to the arrangement that worked very well. So we played Skyler's arrangement of Ben's arrangement as the finale of "The Three Basses" concert. The audience lept to its feet - well, after all, it was high, low, fast, slow, soft and loud - and the photo at left shows us - Paul, Dan, Jim, myself and Charlie - on stage after the concert.
In all, my time in Columbus was very satisfying, and it is just another reminder that the trombone world is a small one. It is friendly and collegial, and my hat is off to the organizers of the ITF and the officers of the ITA who lend their support to make this annual event so memorable.
May 13, 2013 - COMMENTARY
28 years ago today, I played my first concert as a member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. While I had played concerts at Tanglewood, on a European tour and at Symphony Hall in Boston in 1984, that was before I had won the audition for the bass trombone position - I was playing in the orchestra as a substitute player. But in May 1985, I officially began my tenure in Boston, and it is that milestone that I celebrated today, looking back 28 years.
But there was more to my starting in the BSO that simply showing up on the first day of work. At the time I won the bass trombone position in the Boston Symphony, I was bass trombonist of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (1981-1985). When I won the Boston audition in December 1984, I had to be released from my contract in Baltmore, something they did not want to do until I took part in an important concert - a trip to Carnegie Hall.
The Baltimore Symphony did not travel regularly to give concerts in New York so the concert of May 12, 1985 was an important moment for the orchestra. When I look back on the program - see this photo of a poster from the concert that I have saved over all these years - it had a lot of connections to my future life in Boston. First was the centerpiece of the concert - Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra, a piece written for and premiered by the Boston Symphony in 1944. Then there was a premiere of a new work by Charles Wuorinen, a composer whose works I would play much more - and very regularly - in Boston. And finally there was the soloist, Joseph Silverstein. Silverstein was concertmaster and associate conductor of the Boston Symphony for many years and when I was in Baltimore, he was principal guest conductor of the Baltimore Symphony. It was from Joe Silverstein that I learned of the bass trombone opening in Boston an dhe offered me a great deal of encouragement in my preparation for the audition.
As soon as the Carnegie Hall concert was over, I got into my Dodge Omni and drove to Boston, to start with the Boston Symphony the next day. The Orchestra had just started their 100th Anniversary Season of the Boston Pops, so my first service with the BSO was a Pops rehearsal on the morning of May 13, 1985, conducted by John Williams. That night, the concert was recorded for broadcast on the PBS "Evening at Pops" series. Thus began a long chapter of my life in Boston, that I celebrate today as I look back.
I have often spoken to my students about how when you join an orchestra or a performing group, it is not a training ground - it is a proving ground. There is no time to "get your feet wet" in a new job. You are expected to arrive, sit down and deliver like any other member of the ensemble. Pops concerts have a tremendous amount of music that flies across your music stand. Television tapings are fast paced and the microphone is always on. I found this exhilirating, and I am always working with my students to help them bring their "A game" to everything they do, even when they are sightreading (as I did at my first Boston Pops concert - there wasn't time to rehearse everything on the program). I will always be grateful for my time as a free lance player in New York City (1976-1981) where I would often head to a gig not having any idea of what I would be playing. I found that to be exhilirating, and the flexibility I developed then as a young player served me well as my career continued. When I look at the young David Zinman - who at the time of the Baltimore Symphony Carnegie Hall concert in 1985 was Music Director Designate of the orchestra - I'm reminded of the conversations we had in subsequent years when he was a guest conductor with the Boston Symphony. We had both shared time in Baltimore and while he was the conductor and I the third trombone player, that shared experience created a bond that was more than respect. We "knew" things that had shaped both of us. And so it is with all who we meet in life, sharing experiences and going forward with those experiences being a part of our life and decision making as we go forward.
May 8, 2013 - COMMENTARY
It has been awhile since my last update, but that is a reflection of a happy, new life in Arizona where I spend much of my time working with the talented students in my Trombone Studio at Arizona State University. Tomorrow is Commencement at ASU and the end of my first year there. It has been satisfying beyond measure, and life keeps moving ahead with great new things.
In March I was at Texas Christian University (TCU) in Fort Worth, Texas, taking part in their Fourth Annual Ft. Worth Trombone Summit. I have always enjoyed traveling around to give masterclasses and have solo performances at Universities around the world, but nowhere is that more special than to be invited to a school where a former student of mine is the school's trombone professor. Such was the case at TCU, where David Begnoche - a graduate of New England Conservatory of Music in the early 1990s where he studied with Norman Bolter and me - is Assistant Professor of Trombone. Dave has done a great job at TCU and he established the annual Trombone Summit in his first year on the job. One of the great pleasures was working with several other guest artists including Harry Watters of the US Army Band in Washington DC - the photo to the left shows Harry, Dave and me after the evening gala concert where Harry and I played a duet version of Leonard Bernstein's "Make Our Garden Grow" from "Candide" accompanied by the TCU Trombone Choir. Also participating in the event was Tim Anderson - another graduate of New England Conservatory - who is Assistant Professor of Trombone at Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and my good friend Dennis Bubert who teaches at University of Texas, Arlington and plays bass trombone in the Fort Worth Symphony. Seeing all of these friends and working with the talented students at TCU was great fun, and an added dimension for me was to premiere a new piece that was written for me for the occasion by Robert Garwell, "Purple Mosaic" (of course it has "Purple" in the name - EVERYTHING at TCU is purple!). This turned out to be a significant new piece for bass trombone solo with trombone choir and before I headed back home to Arizona, we recorded the piece for future release.
Meanwhile, back home at ASU, our semester has finished with a bang. I instituted trombone choir as part of the curriculum at ASU for the first time when I joined the faculty last August. Our Desert Bones Trombone Choir has proven to be a great part of our working together and earlier in the semester, I thought that the group was so good and the students were working so hard that I wanted to document our time together with a CD recording. So, last Saturday evening from 7:30 to 11:30 PM (it was the only time we could get Katzin Concert Hall at ASU), we had a recording session to put down about 30 minutes of music for a CD we hope to release in spring 2014 after a second recording session in December; the photo at right shows us during our recording session sound check. It was great to bring the recording process to our students - 17 strong in the Trombone Choir this semester - and see and hear them step up to the plate in the crucible of a very demanding recording session. We all feel confident that we have some great material "in the can" and I look forward to the day when we will have our CD in hand to give away - we won't be selling copies; we plan to give it away to anyone who wants one - next year. As hard as it is to believe, my first year at ASU is nearly over and we ar already looking forward to and doing planning for the fall semester. We will be welcoming eight new trombone students (five brand new students and three students who are graduating from ASU tomorrow but will be staying on for another degree) and will have the largest trombone studio ASU has had in several years. All of this is an indication of the quality of our program and the results our students are showing. It's an exciting time to be at ASU. If you're looking for a place to study trombone on the University level - BM, BME, MM, DMA - please consider joining us at "The Desert Proving Ground." Until the fall semester starts up in mid-August, I look forward to many hiking trips with my wife, our daughters and their husbands, and time to rest, read, research and write - and practice! The coming months represent my first summer vacation in over 30 years - during my years in the Baltimore and Boston Symphonies I was always playing concerts in the summer - and as you can imagine, I am very much looking forward to this time.
And for some fun, my wife and I today became season ticket holders for the Arizona Cardinals NFL football team. Last year, we became season ticket holders to ASU football; it was our first foray into college sports and we had a great time and have already renewed for next season. But we have loved the NFL for many years and of course remain fans of our New England Patriots, a team that has given us so much to cheer for over so many years. Still, we love going to football games in a stadium and we decided it was time to become season ticket holders for our local team. There's no problem with divided loyalty with the Patriots and Cardinals - they are in opposite conferences and therefore don't play each other very often (although last season, the Cardinals beat the Patriots in a shocking win at Gillette Stadium in Massachusetts). So we look forward to watching Cardinals football from our seats (this is the view we'll have) and continuing waking up on Monday mornings in the fall, hoarse,from cheering for our team.
In all, this has been a very satisfying spring, and I remind readers that the infrequent posts on this page are more than made up with comments I make on the ASU Trombone Studio Facebook Page where you can read up-to-date information about our activities at ASU. For now, it is into summer. Last day of school tomorrow - wow!
March 18, 2013 - COMMENTARY
In my FAQ about parenting musical children, I coined an axiom about practicing, as a way to help both students and their parents get on the practice train. Earlier this year, John Bogenschutz, the creater of Tone Deaf Comics, asked if he could use my quotation in a poster. He thought the axiom would be a great motivating tool for students and teachers and he asked my permission to turn it into a poster for sale on his website. I was happy to agree (disclaimer: I told John that I did not want any payment for use of my words) and after he made the poster, he decided to turn the axiom into a cartoon that puts a finer point on some of what parents and teachers face when talking about music - or anything - today. The cartoon and poster are below and if this resonates with you, please visit the Tone Deaf Comics website to purchase a poster and help the next generation learn to love playing a musical instrument.
February 28, 2013 - COMMENTARY
You never know what you will see in the Sonoran Desert. I have seen cell phone towers disguised as palm trees, and as evergreen trees, even as part of decoration on a church steeple. But this sequence of photos, taken just a few miles from our home, is something new. I have to admire the creative spirit!
February 26, 2013 - NEW
Readers will notice that yeodoug.com has been undergoing an extreme makeover over the last few weeks. In 2012, knowing that my retirement from the Boston Symphony was on the horizon, I asked graphic designer Wayne Wilcox - who had done such great work for me as a designer on a number of my CD projects and my DVD, Le Monde du Serpent, to create a new look and feel for my website. The primary reason for this change was the need to develop new header graphics for all of the pages on my website since they all indicated that I was bass trombonist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra - something that would no longer be the case. I asked Wayne to create a header graphic that would reflect some of the many facets of my life and work in this new season of life, and you will notice that each section of my website - biography, articles, resources, calendar, etc - has a different photo in the header. I also wanted a new, cleaner design for my home page which had gotten increasingly filled up with many links and images. Internet users are savvy - these days, they know how to navigate websites and find what they want. I thought Wayne came up with a great, clean design, so all that was left for me to do was to implement it. Easier said than done! The makeover requred me to open the code for each page on my website and substitute the new header images as well as other things that would enhance the look of each page. While I am not yet done with this massive project - my website, as you know, has MANY pages - the work is nearly done. I want to thank Wayne for his tremendous work on this and I hope you find this new look to be easier on your eyes and easier to navigate.
This is the third makeover of my website. Here is the initial header graphic from when my website launched in 1996.
Then in 2004, I updated the graphic with something a little more modern:
Which has now led us to the 2012 graphic you see today:
Three header graphics over 17 years of yeodoug.com online. Thanks for visiting - there is more ahead in 2013!