STS: Southeast Trombone Symposium – Day 1

After driving about 15 hours yesterday, we ended up at a hotel outside of Atlanta, which gave us a short (1.5 hours) drive to Columbus the next day. Check-in was scheduled to start at noon, but since we got here around 10:30, I was able to warm up and sign up for an early audition time. Auditions started at 1pm and went all day, but I signed up to go at 1:20.

Auditions were fairly straightforward. They were held in the smaller auditorium in the music building and were judged by all 3 trombonists of the Atlanta Symphony, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra bass trombonist Paul Pollard, and Columbus State Professor of trombone Bradley Palmer. I’m not going to lie, this made it a little intimidating. Playing for guys that are so accomplished and good at what they do. For those who were interested in competing in the solo competition, this audition served as the first round of the competition. For those not interested, you got to chose anything that was about 5 minutes long. I played the first movement and half of the second movement of the Castérède. This showed two contrasting styles and came out to about 5 minutes, maybe a bit more. I screwed up a few runs that I never mess up (thanks to nerves), but I think I sounded the best I have on it to date. They seemed pleased with my performance. After I finished playing, someone (I forget which person) asked what year I was in school. To follow this, Bradley Palmer added that I go to Iowa (Go Hawks!), as he and Pollard have degrees from there. Stage one was complete.

After I warmed up in the morning and checked in, I moved my luggage to my room in the university apartments across the street. These units are very nice. I am sharing an apartment with Austin. We both have our own room with furniture and a bathroom. There is a full kitchen (which we stocked with food from the local Piggly Wiggly), furniture to sit on, high ceilings with big windows, a fan, and nice hardwood floors. The outer walls are even old brick, which looks very cool.

The parking situation here is very nice. Columbus has free street parking in 2 hour time increments. I must say, this is much nicer than Iowa City. I didn’t have to move my car until after I auditioned. While we stay here, we also have access to park our cars in the parking ramp designated for those in the university apartments. We just drove to the third story of the ramp and scanned my prox card to let us in. Pretty convenient. Plus, the ramp was only about a block from the apartment building.

Two random observations so far are: something in the practice rooms rattles when you play a D (or something close to it; it did it when I played a Db on the piano as well) and someone has not learned to play anything except Mahler, apparently. I heard somebody playing the Castérède Sonatine (which I auditioned with) in a practice room. They were playing it all very loud and very long. Definitely not the style of French music.

Now, I’m getting a little hungry, so I am going to make a sandwich before we have our first meeting tonight. I am very excited for this week. I will get to work with some amazing trombonists in VERY nice facilities (well except that rattling in the practice rooms). It should be a great learning experience. I will keep posting throughout the week, so stay tuned.

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