As I write this the performing arts are struggling to make their comeback after the COVID Pandemic has essentially shut down our world. While waiting we have practiced. Some of us have continued our educations and completed school. I graduated with my Masters of Music in Trumpet Performance from George Mason University in May of 2021. The Masters Hood for music is pink and Mason’s colors are Green and Gold.
It’s time to catch up and post on WordPress! Since last I wrote, I have been playing gigs and teaching trumpet to young students. I also spent some time studying the Roy Stevens method of trumpet performance. This new method makes it possible for me to play high notes…something I have wanted to do for some time. For any trumpeters who may be reading this, you can learn about Roy Stevens and his embouchure technique at the website http://www.roystevens.org and actually purchase his book:
on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/dp/1469955911/ref=rdr_ext_tmb
In addition, I am studying Music Recording Technology at the Loudoun Campus of Northern Virginia Community College (known as NOVA).
The Higher Education Center at NOVA’s Loudoun Campus opened in late 2015 and includes a state-of-the-art recording studio for the Music Recording Technology program.
The studio contains a industry standard Solid State Logic (SSL) console, the AWS delta 948. The console records in high definition to digital audio workstations. Classic studio microphones used in conjunction with state-of-the-art outboard equipment provide hands-on experience with equipment one is likely to see in music recording .
Photo credit: http://vintageking.com/ssl-aws-948-delta
I have been interested in studio recording for a long time. It’s hard to remember a time when I was not listening to Wayne Bergeron’s recordings. I have developed a profound respect for recording engineers as they must understand technology and music (and musicians!) The following photos are from Wayne Bergeron’s website: https://www.waynebergeron.com/studio-sessions-gallery
All this proves that STEM education is important for musicians! Case in point, last October (2016) Loudoun County StemDay was hosted at NOVA and included demonstrations of the
Recording Studio (below). http://www.locostemday.com/stem-day-2016
Here is my 1968 Bach Strad before restoration.
You can see that the lacquer finish has worn away a lot, especially in the valve area probably due to the acidic nature of the human hand.
And here is my horn after Charlie Melk’s fantastic restoration.
Charlie removed the dents & polished the horn to a high luster in preparation for its silver plating.
He replaced the water key corks & valve pads, lubricated the valves, slides, & threads. Before sending it off he play tested it. I also asked him to add a 1st slide hook.
April 30, 2016 Ceremony to Honor Vietnam War Veterans & Servicewomen of the Vietnam War
photo by Christine Phelps Anthony, DAR member
Today I had the honor of playing TAPS at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. The Stone Bridge Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) from Loudoun, Virginia conducted this Wreath-Laying Ceremony. April 30th is the actual day that the Vietnam War ended in 1975, so it was a fitting date for Stone Bridge Chapter Regent Susan Postle to lead this memorial service honoring Vietnam War Veterans and Servicewomen. Katharine Bischoff served as Chaplain for this service and led the group in prayer. Visitors to the memorial were welcome to attend the ceremony and seemed to join in especially at the end when TAPS was sounded. According to Vice Regent Kimberly Scott over 8 million military personnel served on active duty during the Vietnam Era, between August 1964 to May 1975.
The Three Servicemen facing the Vietnam Memorial wall (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page)
The names inscribed on the memorial’s wall as of today number 58,272..and represent the fallen including those Missing in Action, Prisoners of War and others. In addition to the wall that was dedicated in 1982, there are two statues: The Three Servicemen Statue and Women’s Memorial which were added in 1984 and 1993 respectively. According to Stone Bridge Historian Sherryl Belinsky over 265,000 women served our country during the Vietnam War. The great majority of women who served in Vietnam were nurses.
The Three Servicemen with wreaths.
The Vietnam Women’s Memorial is a short distance south of the memorial wall.
After the ceremony, we walked the entire memorial and I had my photograph taken with the reflecting pond and Washington Monument in the background. It was cool and overcast but the clouds held off until we left.
Back home in Virginia: The DAR gave my family this beautiful flower arrangement.
There is no greater honor than to play TAPS for our Veterans. I look forward to continuing my service with the Stone Bridge DAR.
Charlie received my trumpet and gave me some good news: my horn has no red rot and it is in great shape! So the plan is to clean the trumpet via the Ultrasonic Method
Here’s Charlie’s explanation of Ultrasonic cleaning from his website (www.charliesbrassworks.com):
This ultrasonic machine is designed specifically for cleaning brass instruments. Unlike the old method of using harmful acids, harsh chemicals, and abrasive brushing, the ultrasonic process is safer for the horn, the user, and the environment. The process uses sound waves to loosen and rinse away all types of dirt and grime from every surface area of the instrument. Finish with a simple rinse and air/towel dry and it’s done.
Ultrasonic Power Corp posted this You-Tube video of a trumpet being cleaned
After the trumpet is cleaned it will be silver plated and a first slide saddle will be added. I should have my restored trumpet back by the end of May. I will post pictures of the trumpet when I get it back from Charlie.
I spoke with master trumpet repairman Charlie Melk and was able to get a spot in his work schedule. Charlie is considered the best brass repairman around and I feel lucky to have him working on my trumpet. My trumpet needed to be at Charlie’s shop by the end of April. So with a little trepidation, I mailed my Bach Strad off to Wisconsin.
Today my trumpet arrived in West Allis, Wisconsin at
My next post will cover Charlie’s thoughts about restoring my trumpet and changing the finish from lacquer to silver plate.
New York Hellenic Philharmonic Society led by Spiro Svolakos
On Sunday, April 3, 2016, the Maryland Greek Independence Day Parade was held in the area of Baltimore known as “Greektown.” I had the opportunity to play trumpet in the NY Hellenic Philharmonic Society. The group is led by Spiro Svolakos (the gentleman above with the baton) who explains the event below:
As you see, in USA, South America, Canada and Australia, the meaning of whatever we call “parade” is far from the standards and stereotypes from those in Greece. Any one can march in a group representing a part of Greece, school, Greek American community or a Greek Orthodox rectory as in a promenade, to express the pride of being Greek, or simply can stay in the sidewalk to enjoy and applaud the marching groups. There is no specific discipline or military walking pace and the bands (mostly High School or Scottish/Irish Pipe bands) usually play non military tunes with an exception of our Hellenic Philharmonic Society that play marches from glorious pages of the Greek History.
Above quote from Spiro Svolakos (https://www.facebook.com/captainspirosvolakos).
Here’s some photos from the parade. Our band was right across from the reviewing stand located in front of the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church. As you can see, the band and reviewing stand were under tents.
The weather was cold and windy. However, the weather could not dampen the enthusiasm that surrounded this parade! The event began with a traditional Greek welcome by the clergy and a prayer. Both the US and Greek Anthems were sung and short speeches delivered by the parade Grand Marshals. The parade and our performance was ready to begin with the Evzones.
The Evzones were historically the elite light infantry and mountain units of the Greek Army. Today the Evzones are members of the Greek Presidential Guard, a ceremonial unit that guards the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Presidential Mansion in Athens.
Here they are guarding the symbolic Tomb staged at the end of the parade. These guards are famous for their unique traditional uniform, which evolved from clothes worn by Greeks that fought the Turkish occupation in 1821. The Evzones lead all military parades.
The parade was led by the Evzones followed by over 50 groups including Greek schools, dance troupes, Heroines of the Greek Revolution 1821, Hellenic Warriors, Myrmidons, Pipe & Drum Bands and finally the Baltimore Raven & the Orioles Bird.
Photos above are credited to the Maryland Greek Independence Day Parade Facebook page.
I would like to show you a couple of pieces of the music we played. The band arrived 2 hours before parade time to have a run through of the music. The group consisted of 3 trumpets, a drummer, 4 trombones, 3 clarinets, an euphonium and a tuba. The wind was wreaking havoc with our music & stands. Large clips saved the music and the stands were weighted down by sand bags. At first glance, you might see that I am playing trumpet… nothing unusual there…but look closer and you will see the music titles are in Greek!
Photo credit Mark Davis
The music was Greek hymns and marches. Our conductor sang the music to us ahead of time so that we could understand the style of the music. It was a pleasure to play in this ensemble & I hope to play again next year for the Maryland Greek Independence Day Parade. The parade has a facebook page : https://www.facebook.com/greekparade/
There is also a website, if you would like to check it out: http://www.greekparade.com
Trumpet players are always searching for the perfect mouthpiece and a legendary horn. Like most of my fellow trumpeters, I have been looking for that special horn and I think I have it in my hands. It is known in trumpet circles as an “Early Elkhart Bach” because it was produced when the Bach plant was moved in 1965 from Mt Vernon, New York to Elkhart, Indiana.
The horn plays great and just needs a good sonic cleaning, perhaps a new lead pipe and a first slide ring added. After assessing the horn and making any necessary repairs, I would like to have it refinished. Right now it looks gold (from the old cellulose lacquer) but I would like to refinish it in silver plate, if possible. Today I contacted Charlie Melk to restore the trumpet and can’t wait to hear back from him.