Saturday, December 3, 2011

Bud's History of Carols ...

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
From 'Bud's History of Carols' on Facebook...

Ad-man Robert L. May created ‘Rudolph’ in 1939, when he wrote a whimsical little story and circulated it at Christmas time in pamphlet form among the Montgomery Ward (remember those?) mail-order department. Ten years later, tune smith Johnny Marks composed a musical setting, and ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ burst on the holiday scene in Gene Autry’s hugely successful recording.

By the way, Autry was afraid the song wasn’t right for his cowboy image, but his wife, Ina, convinced him it was. Boy was she right!

He designed a battery powered toy in 1901 at the age of 20. When the toy was placed in a store’s display window to advertise other Christmas products, his toy created more interest than any other product in the window. What toy was it? [Answer in next mailing]
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Thursday, November 24, 2011

'Jingle Bells'

Jingle Bells - [James Pierpont, 1859]
OK – this is one great story; brace yourself. Jingle Bells is not a Christmas song!
Written by James Pierpont in 1857, (Republished in 1859) it memorializes the ‘Cutter’ drag races in Boston, where spiffed out sleighs would race between Medford and Malden Squares, and the drivers would attempt to impress the local chickies.
James S. Pierpont wrote his catchy ‘Jingle Bells,’ both words and music, for his father’s Sunday school class to sing at Thanksgiving in 1857. “A merry little jingle,” one of his admiring friends called it when she heard it for the first time, though Piermont’s original title was “The One Horse Open Sleigh.”
When the class’s 40 or so youngsters piped up with the song at turkey time, their performance was such a hit that they were asked to repeat it for the Christmas program. Pierpont, who had not bothered to blow his own horn, was for some years oblivious to the fact that he had a big hit on his hands. It wasn’t until 1864 when the Salem Evening News printed the facts of the song’s origin that Pierpont finally received the recognition he deserved.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Tuba Christmas [Buffalo / Niagara] 12/17/11 @ Kleinhans

TubaChristmas Buffalo/Niagara
You are again invited to participate in one or more of the TUBACHRISTMAS concerts/events presented throughout the world. TUBACHRISTMAS was conceived in 1974 as a tribute to the late artist/teacher William J. Bell, born on Christmas Day, 1902. The first TUBACHRISTMAS was conducted by the late Paul Lavalle in New York City's Rockefeller Plaza Ice Rink on Sunday, December 22, 1974. Traditional Christmas music performed at the first TUBACHRISTMAS was arranged by American composer Alec Wilder who ironically died on Christmas Eve, 1980.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

My favorite room at home:

My 'Play Room' tonight: Mirafone (BBb), Yamaha (Eb), Holton, Buescher, Dynasty (2-valve [G], and Conn 110h (trombone). 2 of them are on loan.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

2011 Buffalo/Niagara TubaChristmas...

Buffalo/Niagara TubaChristmas is a go for the 17th of December in the Mary Seaton Room at Kleinhans Music Hall. Mr. Ray Stewart (Professor of tuba @ SUNY Fredonia) will be our conductor. Registration begins at 4:30pm and requires a $5.00 per participant registration. Rehearsal begins at 5:30 with the performance at 7:00, before the BPO's Holiday Classic Concert. Participants will receive a complimentary ticket to the concert, and a participant TC Button. Parking is in the paid lot at Kleinhans or on the street. Everyone entering must stop at the ticket office to secure a pass or be "passed" into the Mary Seaton Room. Participants must bring their own music stand, and are encouraged to dress in festive clothing, including decorating their respective horn. There will have a limited number of bass (20) and treble (10) clef books available to purchase (first come first serve), as well as large print copies too (5 of each). Invite your 'big bore buddies!' Any questions, contact Bud.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Chautauqua Big Band Swing

I played bass 'bone on Sunday, September 25 at the Southern Tier Brewery near Jamestown. Fun, talented group...beautiful weather...spectacular venue.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Mouthpiece buzzing on your brass horn.

There are a number of things you can practice with the mouthpiece alone if you know what you're doing. Mouthpiece practice can be a good time to experiment with the exact sequence of events you do when you start from rest, take a breath, and begin a pitch. You can look in a mirror to examine the efficiency of that sequence.

Norman Bolter has a set of exercises for extending the effective buzzing range that I thought he had published, but I don't see it on his website. The great trumpet player and teacher Jim Thompson has published "The Buzzing Book" which is an excellent systematic approach to aperture control. Great stuff.

Charlie Vernon's recommendation is to simply buzz tunes off the top of your head, for the organic exercise of using your lips as vocal chords. Just sing with your lips...that simple! That said, he does also recommend buzzing etudes and checking your pitch at the end to see how well you stayed on.

I like to buzz tunes that involve staccato articulation in addition to legato, so that I'm practicing centered pitch right from the front of every note, without minute adjustments after the starts of notes.

Mike Roylance recommends doing the Jacobs melody:
starting at the 2nd partial of your instrument, and going down chromatically an octave from there. He does this as a daily routine. I do it from low F down to pedal F most days, which feels GREAT. However, I have to be careful to keep my embouchure in a simple form, not screwing my face into weird positions to get the lowest notes out.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Clarinetist and her cell phone...

Cell Phone Flight Call
A certain Western New York community band took a trip from Buffalo to Hawaii. On route from San Francisco to Hawaii, I noticed one of our clarinet players in the coach section of the airplane dialing her cell phone.

"Excuse me. Your cell phone can't be on during the flight," I reminded her. "Besides, we're over the ocean-you won't get a signal out here."

"That's okay," she said. "I'm just calling my girl friend. She's sitting up in first class."

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Arriving in Heaven ...

Too Little, Too Late
A man arrived at the Pearly Gates, waiting to be admitted. St. Peter opened the gate and said, “I’ve been checking your file. I can’t see that you did anything really good in your life, but you never did anything bad either. I’ll tell you what—if you can tell me one really good deed that you did, I’ll admit you.”
So the man answered, “Once I was driving down the road and saw a gang of thugs attaching a poor man along the side of the road. So I pulled over, got out of my car, grabbed a tire iron, and walked straight up to the gang’s leader—a huge, ugly guy with a chain running from his nose to his ear. Undaunted, I ripped the chain out of his ear and smashed him over the head with the tire iron. Then I turned around and, wielding my tire iron, yelled to the rest of them, “You all leave this poor man alone! Go home before I teach you a lesson you’ll never forget!”

Impressed, St. Peter asked, “Really? I can’t seem to find this in your file. When did all this happen?”

"Oh, about two minutes ago.”

Monday, February 28, 2011


"Hello, is this Pastor Smith?"

"It is."

"This is the IRS calling. Can you help us?"

"I can."

"Do you know a Ted Houlihan?"

"I do."

"Is he a member of your congregation?"

"He is."

"Did he donate $10,000 to the church?"

"He will."

Sunday, February 20, 2011

"Day of Brass" and Tuba Day ...


The University of Rochester College Music Department is thrilled to offer the second annual “Day of Brass” on Saturday, March 26th from 9am-4pm at the UR Alumni and Advancement Center (formerly St. Agnes High School) on East River Road adjacent to the UR River Campus. This FREE event will include rehearsals, master classes/clinics, and a final concert featuring a festival brass ensemble (comprised of guests mixed with UR undergraduates) and a special appearance by the 198th Army Reserve Band Brass Ensemble. This year, the event is open to all participants, ages 14-100!-- high schoolers, college students, local amateurs, and adult musicians.
We are seeking participants for the “Day of Brass"-- any accomplished trumpet, horn, trombone, euphonium, or tuba player who can perform at an intermediate level can participate. There is no audition or enrollment fee! While we hope to accommodate as many participants as possible, we are bound by the size of the stage used for the final performance. Therefore, participation will be managed on a first-come, first-served basis, keeping in mind the desire for a balanced instrumentation. Interested brass players can RSVP or request additional details by sending an e-mail to
Our 2011 offerings include a little bit of everything-- a workshop on jazz improvisation, a session on do-it-yourself instrument care and maintenance, and, back by popular demand, a session on the history of brass with over 40 vintage instruments for you to try! The University of Rochester Stingers Trombone Ensemble will be featured. We will also form a festival ensemble (a mixture of guests and UR students), and we will be playing a fun rendition of "Bohemian Rhapsody" by the rock group Queen.
Won't you please join us for the 2011 Day of Brass? Please RSVP by replying to or by calling 585-273-5157. We can e-mail scanned sheet music to you in advance. Here is a YouTube video from last year's Day of Brass, in case you'd like to see what this is all about:


Come celebrate "International Tuba Day" by playing in a fun concert on Thursday, April 28th at Strong Auditorium on the U of R River Campus. The University of Rochester Brass Choir will be hosting the event this year, which will feature several tuba and euphonium works performed by a massed tuba/euphonium ensemble (comprised of guests and UR undergraduates). The concert will also feature performances by the full UR Brass Choir and the UR Percussion Ensemble. There will be a brief rehearsal at 6pm on the 28th, and then the concert will begin at 8pm. Scanned PDF versions of the sheet music can be e-mailed to participants in advance. Please RSVP by replying to Roger Demott ( or Josef Hanson (

Josef M. Hanson
Manager of Music Performance Programs
Instructor, MUR 101
Director, UR Brass Choir

College Music Department
University of Rochester
206 Todd Union, box 270052
Rochester, NY 14627
phone: 585-273-5157
fax: 585-273-5337

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tuba Urinals ...

I understand these 'tuba urinals' really cut down on "splash," but just the thought of using the horns for this purpose brings tears to my eyes!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Jazz Tuba/Euphonium?

A YouTube link to an amazing and unique Tuba & Euphonium performance. Especially for those who haven't heard "jazz" euphonium or "jazz" tuba performances.

David 'Dave' W Bargeron (born September 6, 1942 in New York City) is an American trombonist and tuba player from Athol, Massachusetts, most famous for playing with the jazz-rock group Blood, Sweat, and Tears. He joined the group in 1970, after Jerry Hyman departed, and first appeared on the album Blood, Sweat & Tears 4. With this group at the album Live and Improvised (1975) played jazz-rock solo on the tuba "And When I Die/One room country shack" Medley. He is often compared to trombonist James Pankow of Chicago and Jim Pugh of the Woody Herman band.
He was lead trombonist with Clark Terry's Big Band, and (from 1968-1970), played bass trombone and tuba with Doc Severinsen's Band. His recording credits with BS&T include eleven albums. A break in their schedule allowed Dave to join the Gil Evans Orchestra in 1972, and he remains a member of that Orchestra to this day.

Michel Godard (3 October 1960, Héricourt, near Belfort, France) is a French tuba player and jazz musician.
Godard was admitted at the age of 18 to the Philharmonic Orchestra of Radio-France. His ability to produce overtones ("multiphonics") and musicality leaves the listener surprised at how light a seemingly cumbersome tuba can sound. In 1979 he picked up also the ancestor of the tuba, the serpent.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Keep practicing ...

When you're a musician, success always seems to occur in private, and failure in full view ... (going back to practice now.)