I had a wonderful time at Eastman! It was great to feel the history of this famous school and to work with the students. Wonderful facilities all the way around.
The top picture was taken right before I had to leave to go to the airport Thursday evening. It is the Eastman Trombone Choir. We had a very engaging trombone choir session where Mark Kellog participated with the students, which I was very touched by. We did some 'special' tuning and positioned ourselves to play "Onward" from "On With the Battle of Life" and the ending "Wish" part from "Katrina Contemplation and Wish." These two pieces were recorded last January on our Frequency Band CD called "Phoenix."
After we really connected to the "Onward" movement and finished playing it, the room was filled with a sense of a huge ocean of possibilities with the a strong feeling of 'it can be done' to make the most out of our lives. It was breathtaking. I asked the group, "Should we do another piece?" and one young man said, "If it's going to do that again!" So we did get ourselves tuned to play the "Wish" part of "Katrina" and, yes, 'IT' happened again in another way. We all played it from the thoughts of hope to wherever or whomever we felt needed it.
We all were in something together. I gave them a proposition, one that Carol and I always say to people, "Let's start anew trend away from 'digitized manufactured playing' and go for the live spirit of the music as the most important thing. Maybe it will catch on!"
The picture below was when I was warming up before the lecture/recital in Kilbourn Hall. Beautiful Hall with lovely acoustics. The pianist that worked with me was a wonderful DMA student named Matthew Waters. He was very receptive to my concepts and did a terrfic job with two not-so-easy piano parts, "Morning Walk" and "The Song of King David."
The Master Class on Wednesday was very well attended. Several students played individually and then one section played doing excerpts from Mahler's 3rd symphony. I applauded them for their openness and willingness to try some new and different approaches which yielded very tangible results. A wonderful group of students to work with!
I want to thank all who made my trip possible including Jamal Rossi and especially Mark Kellog. Mark studied with me in the BUTI program in 1981 (gulp!) at Tanglewood. He was a gifted high school student and a real gentleman. Twenty-nine years later he is still a marvelous musician and gentleman.
Bravo to Mark and 'Doc' Marcellus for their great work at Eastman and to the students themselves. It was a real joy and honor to work with you all. Thank you and I hope it works out again sometime. BRAVO!