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    RickF

    Some inspirational video links

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    Below are links to some inspirational videos I found online during this ongoing isolation or quarantine. Some of these I'm sure some of you have...

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    EuphMan84

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  • Interview with Dr. Paul Droste

    Carole Nowicke: When did you start playing euphonium?

    Droste: I started to play euphonium in the 9th grade, but I started trombone in the 6th grade. I received free lessons from the high school band director (who was a flutist) so he just stayed a page ahead of me. From the 7th grade on I had a very good private teacher by the name of Max Denmark (Lakewood, Ohio). He has a couple of solos, Scene de Concert, and Introduction and Polonaise that are still in print from Ludwig Music Company. I believe at one time he was an adjunct teacher at Baldwin-Wallace College. This would have been in the 1940's and early-to-mid 1950's. I was the first chair trombone player in our high school band as an 8th grader (which doesn't say much) but that's the way it worked out.


    Starting around that year and the next year I began noticing that while the trombones were playing half notes, whole notes, and after beats in the band arrangements, the euphoniums were getting the lovely melodies and the counter melodies and so-on. So, I approached both my band director Frank Barr, and my private teacher Max Denmark and said, "I would like to learn how to play the baritone horn." The high school found an old beat-up one back in the closet some place, so I had something to practice on, and from 9th grade until I graduated from high school, I would alternate lessons with Max Denmark. I would take a trombone lesson one week, and then come back the next week with a baritone lesson, and so on.

    Lest anybody prejudge any high school baritone or euphonium players, I want to tell you that I always got Superior ratings [on trombone] at the state solo and ensemble contest sponsored by the Ohio Music Education Association. I never got a "1" rating on euphonium, and yet I went on and majored in it in college and got the D.M.A. and did the whole thing that way, so maybe I was more of a late bloomer. I'm not really sure, but the euphonium just really opened doors for me that might not have been opened otherwise.

    Nowicke: You had more fun playing it.

    Droste: In fact, my saying to myself and close friend is, "If you want me to play the euphonium, I say 'What, where, and when,' and if you want me to play the trombone, I say 'How much are you paying?'"

    Nowicke: [laughs]

    Droste: And that's really the way I feel about it.

    Nowicke: What kind of a beat-up old baritone horn did they have?

    Droste: I don't even remember--Brand X probably. It was horribly out of tune as I found out later. Once I made the switch in the high school band from trombone to baritone then I got a school baritone, and I think at that time we were using Olds, the Olds Ambassador. There were two lines of Olds we had, and actually the one I liked the best was the lower line, not the upper line. Hamilton, that's what it was.

    Nowicke: Three valve bell-front?

    Droste: Yup, that's it. Marching and concert!

    Nowicke: When you decided it was time to go to college...

    Droste: Well, my high school band director Frank Barr was an Ohio State graduate, and even though he was a flutist, he did play alto horn for a year or two in the O.S.U. Marching Band. He just told me, somewhere along the line, 9th grade, 10th grade, "If you're interested in being a band director, you're going to go to Ohio State." He didn't ask, he just told me that that was the place that I needed to go. As I look back on role models and other adults besides my family that had great influence, he's right up there at the top. If he says "I think you can make it as a music major," that's all I needed to know, and if he says "I think Ohio State's the best place for you to go," then, that was the end of the discussion.

    I was lucky my senior year, two friends and I drove to Columbus twice during the football season. Those days you could still get tickets pretty easily, and we saw two O.S.U. football games, and went to the Marching Band skull session, and just kind of hung around the band. At that point I was completely sold, you couldn't have offered me more money to go anyplace else, it just wouldn't have worked.

    So, I went there primarily for the Marching Band, but also in high school, Don McGinnis guest conducted, not an all-county band, but it was an all-athletic conference type of thing. He conducted, and he was very stern, but he was very good. After I spent a weekend with him, I said, "I think I could be happy playing in his band for four or five years." So, there was another strong push.

    Probably the last strong push came from Jack Evans. I went to an orientation session to take the test to see which English class you get in, and which math class, and so on, and part of that was an interview with people in your particular area of studies. I went to the music school and I just ran into Jack Evans in the office, and I think he knew of me through Frank Barr, but anyway, we had a very nice talk. Actually, I was there to audition as well, and I brought both my trombone and my euphonium. He listened to me play, and he said "You could make it on either one, your choice." I said, "Well, I don't know." I was afraid of not making the O.S.U. Marching Band because they are very selective and had a lot of people. There could be 300 people trying out for 200 spots, so you have a lot of opportunity not to make it.

    I made the Marching Band all right, that was before school started, then after school started, there were auditions for the Concert Band. Jack Evans gathered the trombones and the euphoniums all in one room just sat them down in a row, and just said, "You play, you play, you play, you play." He did that. I listened to the euphonium players warming up, and I listened to the trombone players warming up, and it was very obvious to me that I didn't have a ghost of a chance on trombone, but euphonium, the door was wide open. So, when it came my turn, "What are you going to play?" "I'll play the euphonium, Sir," and got in the O.S.U. Concert Band as freshman, last chair out of four, and the only reason I got in was because I could read treble clef, and in those days before the Xerox machines, band scoring usually came with two bass clef parts and one treble clef part.

    The other three guys had to read bass clef, so it was up to me, Dr. McGinnis said, "If you can read treble clef, you're in, if you can't we'll go with three and you go someplace else." I lied a little bit, I said, "Yes, I can read treble clef." I had studied that with Max Denmark in Cleveland, I had always studied tenor clef on the trombone with him, so I was able (with a lot of practice time) to hold my own in the band that year.

    Nowicke: You were "clef capable."

    Droste: Yes, thank you, that's a good term.

    Nowicke: What year was this?

    Droste: I graduated from high school in 1954, so that would have been the fall of '54 that I entered Ohio State, freshman in music education.

    Nowicke: And there was that much competition to be in the marching band?

    Droste: Oh, yes, even then, and it's even a little worse now, although the band is larger than it was then. Back in those days it was a 120 piece band with about 20-some alternates, 144 was the total. We always had over 200 people trying out. Recent years, it's close to 240 total membership, and they get over 300 people trying out. So, we could cut a full band - we could cut 100 people. This is all brass and percussion, so we were not dealing with the woodwinds at all.

    Nowicke: That's incredible that there were that many students.

    Droste: Well, there are 50,000 students at Ohio State, maybe not in the 1950's, but recently there has been, so it's always been a massive one, and the football program gets very good publicity, radio and now TV. We just draw a lot of people - it's probably the wrong reason, but when I was directing the Marching Band I would occasionally ask a small group why they came to Ohio State, and their answer many times was "Because of the Marching Band." I'd say, "Do you plan on majoring in Marching Band?" "No, but all other things being equal, we could go someplace else and major in engineering or something else, but we couldn't take the marching band with us." So, that's why they ended up at Ohio State.

    We have the great tradition of the tuba players dotting in the "I" in our script "Ohio" and that almost guarantees that the School of Music tuba studio will be full.

    Nowicke: How far back does the script "Ohio" go?

    Droste: 1936 was the first one, and that's our trademark.

    Nowicke: It's very nice, I think it's a lot flashier than the "Block M."

    Droste: I'd agree with that. The "Block M" fanfare is rather awesome, I like that.
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