By Rhonda Apple, Pentagram Staff WriterMarch 26, 2012
WASHINGTON (March 23, 2012) -- Brucker Hall, The U.S. Army Band's home on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, has been buzzing with activity all week during the annual Eastern Trombone Workshop (ETW). It is one of the largest annual events for trombone worldwide. According to TUSAB's website www.usarmyband.com, "The workshop's mission is to give students, performers and educators an opportunity to meet and share ideas, talents and opinions about the world of trombone."
The "Pershing's Own" sponsored event began March 21 with workshops, rehearsals, competitions, master classes, concerts, a jazz showcase and exhibits. Continuing today and Saturday, there are still a variety of events available to attend, free of charge. No tickets, reservations or registration fees are required to attend. The U.S. Army Blues will perform tonight and The U.S. Army Orchestra on Saturday.
Along with the talented members of "Pershing's Own," the event features prominent trombonists, who have traveled far and wide to attend the workshop, including New York City recording artist David Taylor, Vienna Philharmonic principal trombone, Ian Bousfield, Nitzan Haroz, the principal trombonist of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and professional trombonist, Andy Martin, one of Hollywood's leading trombonists for motion pictures, television, live theater and commercial recordings.
"We've been hosting the workshop here since 1993," said Staff Sgt. Chris Branagan, marketing and public relations for The U.S. Army Band and assistant chairman for the ETW, who explained ETW is the only professionally organized and staffed trombone workshop or conference in the United States. The ETW has been in existence since it was founded in 1978 and held at Towson State University, in Baltimore, Md. According to TUSAB's website, "In 1981, the workshop moved to Florida State University … The U.S. Navy Band took control of the workshop in 1986."
Sgt. 1st Class Sam Woodhead, principal trombone with The U.S. Army Concert Band, the ETW chairman and Branagan work year-round on the event. "We start booking artists around the end of the summer. We also have people contacting us all year, asking to participate," Branagan said.
"This workshop is one of the reasons I took this job [with The U.S. Army Band]," said Branagan, who was a trombonist with the San Antonio Symphony and taught trombone at the University of San Antonio before enlisting in the Army to pursue his career in music.
Branagan said college and university students have attended the event as far away as south Texas, Colorado, and California, as well as students attending throughout the entire east coast. "We typically try to schedule it around spring break so more students can attend," he said.
"Seven university trombone choirs are also participating this year as well as a couple of area high school groups who will be playing in the balcony between performances. All the performances taking place in the major studio [at Brucker Hall] will be video broadcast on the Army Band's website. The performances in the minor studio will be available for audio only.
A new feature of the ETW this year is a servicemember seminar for military band members. "It's like a professional development course people stationed in other Army bands can come and participate," said Branagan. "Some of the guest artists are donating their time to provide these people with private lessons. It's an incredible opportunity for those who are stationed out in the field to get lessons from people like [Ian] Bousfield or [Nitzan] Haroz."
For a list of performances and other events held throughout National Capital Region, check The U.S. Army Band's event schedule by visiting http://www.usarmyband.com/event-calendar.html.