International Trumpet Guild Conference 2016 Anaheim
When you take a car trip from north of downtown Los Angeles to Anaheim, as I did last Tuesday, you cross an incredible swath of humanity. And if Waze directs you through a variety of neighborhoods in the attempt to guide you through the fewest stops and in the shortest time, the portrait of the city is greatly magnified.
Here I was, going to Anaheim to attend the International Trumpet Guild Conference, the sort of annual pilgrimage the trumpeting elephants make in Africa as they follow the seasons from watering hole to watering hole. But this event for trumpet players is marked by inspiration, incredulity and mostly a great deal of community.
As I threaded my way across the savannah of Los Angeles I was struck by the millions upon millions of people that seem to be leading perfectly normal lives of varying comfort without ever picking up a trumpet or caring what happens to trumpet players. It was an instructive lesson in understanding that I was about to immerse myself in a familiar but extremely arcane corner of human horticulture.
Like in the movie King of Hearts, here were all manner of trumpet players let loose upon the town square and we all thought we were normal. Only the hotel staff knew the truth - yet to them this was just another twist of the kaleidoscope of human nuttiness. Now that I am at home again, the hotel is probably experiencing a completely different group of nuts all walking around thinking they are normal. You’ve got to love it.
Now, I can’t give you a lucid and wide perspective of the entire happenings of the conference. I was sitting (and standing) in one room, at two tables, smothered with the printed offerings of Balquhidder Music, trolling for customers and friends alike (usually one and the same) and instead of running around from place to place, I had the conference coming past my place like a parade.
First of all, it was fun. You know how sometimes you want to have dinner with friends and you have to pour over your schedule books and look for a date that works for both of you? And sometimes that date is weeks away? But you better grab it or something else will happen and squeeze you out. This is the way of the annual conference. And there is a subtle comfort in being around like-minded (or should I say like-muddled?) people – and trumpet players (like other instrumentalists) have been selected by their instruments for certain personality combinations.
And the purpose is not only to perform and demonstrate and instruct each other but the simple act of BEING together which is the true glue and the true battery recharger for those who are otherwise sprayed out into the hinterland with only marginal or electronic connections with other similarly afflicted folks.
One might observe, peripherally, that trumpet players taken out of mixed company can often prove to be very civilized and interesting people. But of course, I have an uncontrollable bias. My trumpet card is fully punched and I am a Life Member. So I can’t give you an unbiased picture. I have no idea where on earth you might find one.
Anyway, the more objective report could tell that that a lot of music crossed the Balquhidder table – over 95 different titles in various multiples - and is now heading back to many of the United States and locations in Latin America, Europe, and China.
Once the waves have reached their furthest extensions they will gradually turn around and head back to the next conference, gaining speed on the way. So it is with the elephants, as it is with the trumpets. And so it is with the Trombone Association and the Clarinets, Banjos and you-name-its. In fact, Kazue just got back from the Major Orchestra Librarian’s conference in Helsinki a few weeks ago. Now who might imagine a more eclectic group than that?
So another ITG has come and gone although the clean-up will likely be as time consuming as the build-up.
It was a pleasure!
As to pure information: even after six months of exhaustive proofreading and tweaking, the Anthony Kirkland book, Wind Band Excerpts for Trumpet and Cornet still has a few errata. With the help of LeAnn Splitter, Tony and I are launching into that project. I have compiled an email list of those who have purchased the book already so I can notify and inform.