Posted By kerryturner on April 7, 2009
Here it is, the 7th of April, and I am only now sitting down to write about the AHQ U.S. tour which officially ended over two weeks ago. It was a very successful tour, there is no doubt about that. But I had made the journey to the States several days prior to the first concert of the tour. I flew to San Antonio, Texas to visit my mother and her husband as well as my brother Ken. Meeting up with the lads of the AHQ in Dallas, we were driven by Mark and Ute Miller, the organizers of the Mount Vernon, Texas Music Festival. This is a delightful little chamber music festival which takes place about an hour and a half east of Dallas. The hall was full and the audience was extremely enthusiastic. Here is a link which leads you to a review of the concert: http://www.winnsborotoday.com/articles/2009/American%20Horn%20Quartet.html
The next day, the group was driven to the University of Texas in Commerce. As we were unpacking our horns and suits and generally preparing for the evening’s concert, Charlie Puntam alerted us to an alarming problem with the first valve on his horn. The thing was most stubbornly stuck and would simply not move! It took the efforts of 4 people, holding parts, making suggestions and fetching various tools to finally take the valve casing apart and clean it out. Thus was the concert saved! But it was a close call.
The following morning we all flew to Austin to perform at the University of Texas. Our competition that evening was the famous comedy musical “Spamelot” and a UT basketball game, all taking place within a half a mile of each other. But we had a respectable crowd. My mother showed up dressed as a matador and looked spectacular! The AHQ also gave a masterclass at UT and presented a very interesting question and answer session about living and working in Europe.
The next leg of the tour took us to Ithaca New York. It was the 2009 Northeast Horn Workshop which took place the 13th through the 15th of March and was organized and hosted by Alex Shuhan. The AHQ were the guest artists at this event, along with Gail Williams and Adam Unsworth.
On March 16th, we all drove to the Rochester Airport and departed for Columbia, South Carolina. We were to be teachers and lecturers for the band at Fort Jackson. We heard some fine playing from the soldiers there, including a horn quartet from Ft. McPherson. The recital was given at the university of South Carolina, an event organized by Bob Pruzin. The members quartet were all presented with the “Coin of Excellence” by the staff of the Army Band at Fort Jackson.
The IHS Mid-South Workshop at the University of Memphis was the next and final stop on this tour. It was hosted by Dan Phillips, whose hospitality was exemplary. We had a rather busy schedule there: masterclass, recital, performance of my Introduction and Main Event with the University of Memphis Band, and something a little out of the ordinary for me. I performed as guest artists with the Southern Comfort Big Band of the University of Memphis. I was supposed to play “Nature Boy” which had been arranged especially for me. I had practiced the part that had been sent to me and had interpreted the style to be blues-y, laid back and a bit smoky. I knew I wasn’t going to get a rehearsal and I knew the band was going to be rather loud. But imagine my surprise when the introduction imitated a rousing Stan Kenton big band sound. The brass, drums and saxes were up full blast ad the harmony was stacked. And I…..was totally smothered. Nevertheless I carried on and blasted my subtle rifts as accurately as I could. The whole business was funny really.
The tour ended, the gentlemen of the quartet flew their separate ways, and I headed up to New York City. I was to meet with Gregg Squires, the producer of my newest CD, an album which features Karankawa for Symphony Orchestra, Concerto for Low and Horn and Chamber Orchestra, Concerto for Bass-Tuba and Orchestra and Introduction and Main Event. But that is another blog.