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Thread: Advice from Les Brown's Father

  1. #1

    Advice from Les Brown's Father

    Band leader Les Brown had a great band in the big-band tradition. His father taught him trumpet, baritone horn, then trombone, saying

    "Baritone horns can't make a living. There are only two in every concert band."
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams E3, Denis Wick 4AL (classic)
    Instructor of Euphonium and Tuba
    Twitter: davewerden
    Facebook: davewerden
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    Owner of,

  2. #2
    Our community band seems to vary from 3-6 euphonium players depending on the gig. I always bring one of my trombones to rehearsal along with my euphonium because often our trombone section is depleted and I will play trombone for that gig. However, the next time the trombone section will have 6-8 players waiting to play. Several of us are doublers, so that helps to balance the sections out, but it's a little wild not knowing what instrument I'll play from gig to gig. Community band is my main opportunity to play euphonium, but it isn't helpful to have 6 euphoniums and 4 trombones for a given concert.

    These seem to be the only 2 sections in our band that fluctuate so wildly.

  3. #3
    Interestingly, since graduating from university 18 years ago, I very rarely needed to play trombone for anything. I done more tuba playing if anything for my Community Band when we didn't have any Highschool tuba students. I don't own a tuba so I use of the schools Yamaha's and use my gold plated 66 mouthpiece. I get around tuba fairly well especially for not being to practice on it. The one year which I had to play tuba, we played A Circus Suite by Stuart Johnson. The 2nd movement (Elephant Act) has a tuba solo in it. I did a pretty job with it, surprised a few people who didn't know that I can play tuba. In my Community Band, I usually sit beside the tuba and give them pointers when needed. The trombone section in my Community Band is fine led by the Highschool Band teachers husband. The Highschools in my town always had solid trombone players, likely in part that the university in my town has a really good trombone prof.

    In talking to Dr. Joel Pugh a couple of years ago at the International Music Camp, he said he was giving a lecture about "You can make a living playing euphonium however...." somewhere a couple of years ago. I never asked how that went over.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Hidden Valley, AZ
    The only thing worse is a mellophone enthusiast...

    Unless you were in Stan Kentons' band.

    3 notes and the truth.

    1966 Besson 181 highly modified New Standard, Wick 4AL
    1918 Hawkes & Son euph 3&1 original
    1917 Conn C/D/Eb mellophone original
    1915 York Bb tenorhorn original, Bach 5GS

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Central North Carolina
    In the New Horizons band I played in for about 6 months some years ago, there were 9 -- when they all showed up.
    Gary Merrill
    Wessex EEb Bass tuba (Denis Wick 3XL)
    Mack Brass Compensating Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J9 euph)
    Amati Oval Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J6 euph)
    1924 Buescher 3-valve Eb tuba, modified Kelly 25
    Schiller American Heritage 7B clone bass trombone (DE LB K/K9/112 Lexan, Brass Ark MV50R)
    1947 Olds "Standard" trombone (Olds #3)


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