West Chester!!!

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by NickD, Jan 30, 2007.

  1. NickD

    NickD Forte User

    Well, it was an incredibly long and exhausting weekend for me. I left my house at 3:30 AM on Saturday morning and drove over 12 hours. Adding in various needed pit stops and getting lost at least once made for a 14 hour drive day as I made my way from the Chicago area to West Chester Pennsylvania. By the time I got fed and to bed is was around 10:00 PM. I was actually a little worried about how things would go on Sunday.

    Then came the big day, and oh what a day. I was immediately reminded of the fact that every time Felix Vayser brings me into something it is ALWAYS good and ALWAYS beautiful. It was a spectacularly harmonious and positive event. I sputter thinking of more superlatives to describe what Felix and JC came up with. Gents, BRAVO!

    My experience began with a lovely evening Saturday night at dinner with James Ackley, Craig Morris, JC and his lovely family (Kate and Gabriel). I felt SO privileged to be included with this trio of legit trumpet luminaries. In the car I expressed my gratitude for all the joy Craig brought guys like me. I was used to seeing and hearing him from the bleacher seats in the gallery of Orchestra Hall on Michigan Avenue. His playing was always beautiful and his personality certainly matched that. James Ackely warmly shared many of his colorful experiences as a highly respected and experienced legit player in Central and South America. JC impressed me with all he had been through as he found his way to the faculty at West Chester. I honestly felt “how do I deserve to be sitting here at dinner with these remarkable people?" What an honor and what an interesting evening.

    Little did I realize how the next day would amplify that! From the moment I got to the music building I was bumping into people from TPIN, TM, TH and just from around! This was happening a bit at the ITG last June, but not nearly to the same extent. Before my clinic/lecture I had literally dozens of conversations with many wonderful folks from the forums and listservs. EACH of those was collegial and enlightening. Folks were asking questions about trumpet acoustics and chops even BEFORE my clinic. One thing that really indicates how good an event like this is when I can walk away from it feeling the I HAD LEARNED something from all of YOU, even though I was an invited speaker. I most certainly did, and you'll be seeing the fruits of that soon enough, but I digress.

    As a sidebar, since I am an endorsing artist for the New York Trumpet company, I spent a lot of time at Felix's exhibit. Felix has expanded his line and it is SERIOUS! His two new C trumpets are superlative. I will be replacing my Bach ASAP! I simply LOVE both of his axes. He has modified and elaborated on his California model and I am going to Fedex TODAY to ship him my California for the necessary modifications. The light model is SOOOO easy to play! His FLUGELS are just fantastic! They are beautiful to look at and produce warm dark tones that are incredible. You really owe it to your self to find out more about his line.

    Next, MIKE VAX! For YEARS I've been aware of Mike Vax and never met him. I've read his posts and read about him in trumpet journals. What thrill to finally meet him work with him and share the stage with him. He proved to be a gentleman, a scholar and quite the artist. Dinner with him on Sunday night was fun and thrilling. He was a treasure trove of ideas and music. I remember when I first bought a lead model mouthpiece. It was a Schilke 13A4a, the Mike Vax model! What fun to get to spend a day with him like this.

    Next, TM's own Tony Kadlec was there. This guy is SERIOUS! He has a warm gorgeous tone rivally that of any symphony player out there and yet can turn on the heat as a powerful lead player at the drop of a hat. As if that isn't enough, Tony is a fantastic jazz improviser. Ok, not enough? He is a fine, kind warm hearted person on top of it. It is no small wonder that he works as much as he does, Who WOULDN'T want a guy like that on the gig. Tony, to put it simply, just knows what he is doing. I will read his posts at TM with even keener interest. His presence at this event really added a great deal.

    I HAVE to speak of Matt Gallagher! Two words: A Mazing! :-) Once again, a sweet gentleman. More importantly to this post, an INCREDIBLE player. Not since I worked with Maynard or heard Bergeron live last year have I hard a guy with chops like this. WCU is so privileged to have him on board.

    Finally, it was so heart warming to see my new friend, Tony Gambaro there. We spent several days together last year as we worked on the "Three Days in Saratoga" CD (soon to be released - wait till you hear the final mix!!!). Again, a fine musician and a wonderful human being.

    After a long day of blatting away in the exhibits, a rehearsal and talking myself blue in the face, I finally got to do my little clinic. I was prepared to host maybe 20 folks. Imagine my shock to see an almost filled recital hall - only a few open seats. Now imagine my feelings of being intimidated when among those seated are luminaries from all of the forums, the ITG and JERRY CALLET himself sitting right in front of me. All I could do was take a gulp and just "do this thing!"

    I had great fun sharing ideas with you. I am 110% sincere in my desire to help other folks like this. I thought the Q&A was fantastic and the custodian had to ask me and about 5 or so folks to leave after we kept talking for about a half hour after I was to finish up. I was so thrilled to see you all there, you just can't imagine.

    Finally, there was the concert. What a fantastic young band. They sounded great. All of the artists I got to share the stage with sounded great, and on top of it, I got to play with them all, too! The air was filled with a positive electricity of sharing the entire day and it all came to a head in the concert.

    For my part, I can't express enough gratitude for having been included. I walked away with many ideas and my head was fizzing with ideas during the 12 hour drive back. In fact, I had an embouchure epiphany on the drive back. After I unpacked my axes, I ran into my studio for a half hour and tested it. I am REALLY excited about this. This is the result of a short conversation with Felix over coffee just before I left and a couple of lengthy conversations with Gerry during the day (I do bug that poor guy!). I want to fine tune this, but I have very high expectations (pun not intended)!

    Felix, JC, you two gentleman have accomplished something wonderful. I hope the ITG writes this up in the next journal. More importantly, I hope you make this a huge annual event!

    Thanks for the privilege of working with you all.

    Peace.

    Nick Drozdoff
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2007
  2. swissdude

    swissdude Pianissimo User

    195
    4
    Nov 29, 2003
    West Chester, PA
    Nick Thank you for the kind words. You are amazing. I had a wonderful time this week end. Next time I hope we'll get to hang more.
    I want also to thank Tony Gambaro who flew in that morning and flew back that evening. What a day for him. Lots of traveling. His clinic was amazing. I did not see all of it but what I heard was great. Now I can start building my high chops :-)
     
  3. Reverend

    Reverend Pianissimo User

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    Nov 9, 2003
    Greater Houston area
    Nick, you basically summed it up! A GREAT time had by all! I truly enjoyed hanging with you and Mike Vax at supper after the event. Thanks for making this ol' boy from Texas feel at home amongst you and those others at the table that I consider to be trumpet "legends!"

    JC - GREAT event! Job well done! Count me in for next year! (Oh, and by the way, I video'd Tony's and Nick's clinics and will get a copy to you - part of the Stage 1 endorsing artists' perks!)

    Of course, how can I forget Felix!! To everyone who reads this forum, although you can tell how great Felix is by communicating with him via email and talking with him on the phone, it doesn't compare to meeting him in person! Felix, you are one in a million, and I consider myself very privileged to have finally met you, and your wife! I'm going to have to get you and your family down here to Texas!!!

    Now to prepare for TMEA!!! Those of you in Texas who could not make it to Philly - come see me at booth #335!! Stage 1 trumpets are about to become a household name in the world of custom trumpets!!!

    Blessings,
     
  4. gtromble

    gtromble Pianissimo User

    226
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    Dec 31, 2005
    Ya! Nick -- the toy-fest was the best. Hard to pick one thing, but the pvc and duct tape natural trumpet was pretty cool. Adding that funnel sure brought those lower harmonics up. Makes you wonder why folks like Bob Malone have so much trouble making a trumpet play right :)

    Wish I could have stayed after to hang a bit, but I had a 2 hour drive back to D.C. so I could be ready for work Monday morning.

    Can't wait for another one of these!

    Galen
     
  5. ALLCHOPS

    ALLCHOPS Piano User

    Age:
    52
    328
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    Nov 14, 2003
    Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
    The dust has cleared!

    First and foremost I would like to thank Felix and Jan for a wonderful event. I would also like to thank all of the other vendors.. Pick Music: You two are a great team! Tony K - It's been a long time coming, it was great to see and hear your genius...

    Yeah yeah, so I was in Boston Friday night and local (Saratoga) Saturday night which went from a normal 3 set night to a 5 set night. Ouch! I arrived around 12:30 to more trumpet players than I've ever been around! I need a quick bite to eat and Jan directed me to the hospitality room where I walked in and met Craig Morris and the gentleman from Yamaha(I apologize, his name escapes me) We broke bread together so to speak! The intimidation factor was running high as you might imagine!

    After lunch I went back to the vendor hall/play testing room to at least 150 trumpeters playing away ! WOW!!!!!!!

    My little segment was to begin @ 1:30 so I made my way to the Recital Hall and there was a line all the way down the hall. Itimidation factor; higher at this point. I walk into the hall and the WCU Jazz Ensemble was rehearsing for the show! Wow did they sound great.

    At that point I saw Nick D and we exchanged a hearty Man Hug... Incidentally Nick, I saw bits and pieces of your presentation from the back entrance to hall behind the curtain. You are a special individual with loads of knowlege. Please continue to share as it is invaluble for the rest of us who think we are trumpet players!

    It was my turn and this was to be my first clinic/workshop under these circumstances! I am not of the caliber or experience of the other presentors in many respects. I was really happy that most of you had your trumpets ready to play along with me which helped my cause greatly.. thank you to all the attendees!

    As I stated towards the end of my session, hearing what 250 or so trumpets sounded like playing the F-Tuning (Ala Blue Devils Warm Up) portion of the program was one of the highlights of my life! I loved it! They played towards me and I played towards them... Unbeliviable... Thank you all for the participation. What a hoot!

    At that point it was back to the booth for some more play testing... Some great players were in attendance to left, right, in front of me and in back of me... lots of chops in this part of the country... Whoa!!!!!!!!!

    Craig Morris and Jeffrey Curnow - Assitant Principal, Philadelphia
    finally came into the room during one of the clinics. This was usually a time when the play testing room was a bit quieter so they both took advantage of the situation... Yamaha had some new models for them top play test and it was a treat just to sit back and take it all in. They finally made there way over to the NYTC table and Craig picked up the Stage 1 Modular with the rimless copper bell and away he went... he was 3 feet in front of me sounding as sweet as i ever heard. He pulled the horn away from his lip, looked at it and said and I quote "What is this???" "How did you do this?"

    Felix swaped bells for him at that point which takes all of 30 seconds handed it back to Craig and he began to play again. He pulled the horn away and said, " How were you able to make a horn w/interchangeable bells that has a effortless and even blow, consistent intonation and maintain the same feel from bell to bell???""How did you do this?" He then handed the horn to Mr. Bilger... He had the same reactions...

    From that point they both played NYTC 'C' trumpet.. Again, they both had the same reaction and uddered some words that need not repeating... They were both taken back by these trumpets... It was surreal to say the least! Contact info was exchanged and dealings are in order for the future with these gentlmen...

    To wrap things up here, again I really want to thank everyone who attended for a wonderful day!

    I had to leave earlier than I wanted but that's just the way things go sometimes... Hopefully next time I can come early and leave late! I need to hang with Mike Vax and Tony K some more, the stories are incredible!

    Thank you all for reading...

    Tony G
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2007
  6. soundnmind

    soundnmind New Friend

    2
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    Jan 9, 2007
    Sounds like a couple of kids in a candy store!
     
  7. ALLCHOPS

    ALLCHOPS Piano User

    Age:
    52
    328
    1
    Nov 14, 2003
    Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
    I made a huge mistake... Having arrived late I did not know that Mr. Bilger was not there! The other gentleman looked like him but with longer hair... Jeffrey Curnow - Assitant Principal, Philadelphia...

    Egg on my face: I apologize for the confusion...

    Tony G
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2007
  8. swissdude

    swissdude Pianissimo User

    195
    4
    Nov 29, 2003
    West Chester, PA
    Tony it's ok. Isn't tomatoes?? eggs can hurt hahahaha
    With so many people there it is very easy to make mistakes, have done plenty in the past but we won't go there.
    How was your trip back?
     
  9. NYTC

    NYTC Forte User

    1,137
    4
    Nov 1, 2004
    Brooklyn,NY

    He calls me Alex all the time :)
     
  10. ALLCHOPS

    ALLCHOPS Piano User

    Age:
    52
    328
    1
    Nov 14, 2003
    Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
    No not Alex, it was Alexi.....
     

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