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A lot has happened since I posted last. The main reason I have not updated is because I got a pretty nasty cold and was really out of it for a while. So, lets go back a couple weeks. I went to DC for the US Army band Tuba conference which I try to go to every year. I go mainly to see friends and hang out with some guys I only get to see at the conference. Tom Bratten, David Kirven, Chris Quade, Tom Holz and some others. These guys all play in service bands in DC and I have the utmost respect for their abilities, and love to hear their tales. They are very entertaining fellers. I poked around a few tubas and didn’t see anything I like better than my own set up, which was nice. Now I don’t have to find a way to buy a new tuba. There were several performances I saw that stood out this year. Top of the list was Chris Quade, playing the Koetsier with the Army Orchestra. He did it memorized and this is one of the best tuba performances I have ever seen. He made the tuba seem like a legitimate solo instrument, and was far beyond just playing the tuba. Also on this concert was Joe Skillen from LSU, who I liked a lot.

The James Madison Brass Band played with some soloists on a concert and I really like Dean Miller playing the Sparke Concerto and Lauren Veronie playing Sparkes’s Harlequin. These guys were some of the highlights of the weekend. The band did a nice job learning a ton of music. Tom Bratten played the Sparke Tuba Concerto with the Army Band and was awesome. I love how smooth he plays and he did a fantastic job as always. Øystein Baadsvik played the Vaughan Williams Concerto. He played the heck out of, of course. I am not a huge fan of his style of playing, but I recognize he is a monster tuba player. Roger Behrend played a compilation of opera arias and was awesome. Behrend is still one of my favorite euphonium soloists to listen to.

Hanging out with the guys, and Mark Norman and watching some inspirational performances made for a great weekend. As usual, it was freezing cold in DC. In the 20s for the two days I was up there, then freakishly turning 65 on Sunday for the trip home, exposing my one weakness as a super hero. Drastic temperature changes make me prone for illness, meaning a cold.

Here is the Bio from the UNCG TubaBand in the program guide for the conference. I thought it was neat how Dennis says some nice things about the work his predecessor, Dave Lewis, did in starting the tuba program at UNCG. Classy!!!

Here is a picture of Danny Helseth. I met him this weekend and had some good conversations about brass bands with him. He is the Music Director of a brass band in Seattle, Washington.

Tom Bratten playing with TUSAB, trying not to look at me.

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