• Interview with Dr. Paul Droste

    Nowicke: What were you playing then, a pea-shooter?

    Droste: I had for a while a school horn, who knows, Brand X. I did buy an 88-H at one time, and probably used that for most of the lessons with Reinhardt, and then, ah, when did I sell it? I sold it some place. [laughs]

    Nowicke: Were you using the same mouthpiece on trombone and euphonium?

    Droste: What I evolved into (I'm not sure what I was doing in those days) was the same rim size for both, with a deeper cup for the euphonium and a shallower cup for the trombone. So when I was in the Schilke line I was using the Schilke 51D on euphonium, and the 51B or sometimes 51C-4 on trombone. I don't play much trombone any more, but I've evolved on euphonium to the Steve Meade-Dennis Wick #4, and I've got a small shank version of that as well, so if I had to play any trombone I'd probably use that.

    Nowicke: Was Harold Brasch using really extremely large mouthpieces like Art Lehman did?

    Droste: I don't remember specifically, other than it was a heck of a lot larger than the one I was using, so I'm going to say yes, it probably was. Which is another thing that Jack Evans used to get on, playing a larger mouthpiece doesn't make you a better player. Maybe you're going to sacrifice register or something else. So, he was always, "Euphonium players, Bach 9, Bach 7, maybe." We were not into the 3's and 4's, and even into the 6-AL's, so we were playing pretty small equipment, but then, it matched the smaller baritones we were playing.

    Nowicke: If he was a cornet player, he wouldn't be thinking larger.

    Droste: I never had specialized instruction, and I tried to tell my students at Ohio State through the years, not only have I played the horn, I'm still playing the horn, I'm still doing recitals, I'm still doing solo appearances, and thanks to T.U.B.A. and my friends, I'm in the mainstream. If something new comes out, I'll either read about it, or somebody will call me, or they will come up at a convention or something, like "Hey, here's a mouthpiece you ought to look at," and some new teaching techniques or something else. So, to kind of slide into T.U.B.A., it's been very good for that, just the contacts.

    Nowicke: When you were a young euphonium player, did you ever hear any euphonium players?

    Droste: Only Harold Brasch, when he came to Columbus, well, later on at Eastman. I think I was in undergrad school probably a junior or senior, so this would have been the late 1950's. I would say that's the first British-style euphonium soloist that I ever heard.

    Nowicke: None of the American band soloists?

    Droste: No.

    Nowicke: Even on recordings?

    Droste: My earliest recordings are Harold Brasch, Mr. Euphonium, and Harold Brasch Live, LP's he did probably in the 50's or early 60's maybe. No, I mean, we're here in Columbus, Ohio, which is the state capitol, but Ohio State and the other schools did not have any euphonium players on the staff, and there was no place to go in town. Glenn Harriman, principal trombone in the Columbus Symphony at that time was probably the best union-type euphonium player. I remember in the early years how happy and proud I was to be able to sit next to Glenn for a Sunday afternoon rehearsal and a Sunday night concert someplace, just figuring that he was the number one euphonium in town and I'm just the young kid. This was not a good area for a euphonium major, for a euphonium player, OK, but in terms of the private studio instruction and any emphasis the band would have had on euphonium parts, or stand-up soloists, this did not happen in those years.

    Nowicke: What years were you at Eastman?

    Droste: I went in there in the fall of 1960 and I graduated in the spring of 1961, so I was there just the nine months. Came out with a Master of Music degree and they have a thing called the Performer's Certificate there. I think it was the only jury I played all year, was in springtime, maybe two or three weeks before the end of the school term. If you auditioned at a certain level, they approved you as a candidate for a Performer's Certificate, and then the next year, you study again, and you get to play a concerto with the Eastman Rochester Orchestra on part of their series.

    I got through the jury in fine shape, and it's on my resume someplace, "recommended for a Performer's Certificate," but at that point I finished my Masters degree, I was totally out of money, in hock to half of my family and it was just time to get back to a teaching-type job again, or something. I went to Eastman, because I applied late, I had no financial assistance. I paid my own way that year, and about Easter time I ran out of money and had to take up a collection with members of my own family. Never did have to go to a bank, I'm thankful for that, but they got me through the year. At that point I needed a job of some sort.
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