Trombone Group Gets A Kick Start

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Tromboteam! is proof that when people work together, some pretty amazing things can happen.

With the assistance of a Kickstarter page, the trombone quintet successfully raised enough money to commission several original pieces from contemporary composers.

What started out as a group playing together for pure enjoyment has evolved into a project that includes touring, lessons for young trombonists and a potential CD.

WOUB's Emily Votaw spoke with Sarah Paradis, visiting assistant professor of trombone at Ohio University’s School of Music, about Tromboteam! and what's in the works for the group.

EV: How long have you been playing music?

SP: Long answer: Music has been a large part of my life for as long as I can remember. I began taking piano lessons at age eight, violin at age nine and trombone at age 10. From then until high school graduation, I played in school orchestra, concert band, marching band, and sang in the choir.

Since then I have been studying or teaching music at the collegiate level. Currently I am a member of the Springfield, Ohio Symphony Orchestra and the Richmond, Indiana Symphony and I play with other groups from time to time. I am a member of several chamber ensembles: OhioBrass, Bell(e) Collective, Mirari Brass Quintet and Tromboteam! The short answer: 22 years.

EV: How did you first hear about Tromboteam! and what made you want to get involved?

SP: I was invited to join Tromboteam! five years ago. Another member went to school with me at Indiana University. I love playing in a trombone quartet because the parts can be challenging and it is always such a great sound. I had been part of several trombone quartets in my past, so I knew that I wanted to join Tromboteam!, especially since they had a proven history of being very dedicated to their music and the betterment of themselves as musicians.

EV: What makes working with Tromboteam! unique?

SP: It's a fantastic group of people and a pleasure to collaborate with positive, supportive and intelligent musicians. Having five members allows us a lot of flexibility that most chamber music ensembles wouldn't have. First, we can play pieces for special instrumentation, like trombone quartet and a solo instrument or trombone quintet. 

Second, since we all live in different parts of the country, this gives us the flexibility to perform or go on tour even if one member is not available. 

EV: You've achieved your goal on Kickstarter. What's next?

SP: Securing funding for our commission project is just the beginning of our plans. As we overfund, we will put money towards projects which are imperative parts of our development as an ensemble.

For one, secure longer compositions and pay the composers a fee that is closer to their normal rate. They had given us quite a discount. Two, fund our world premiere concert. This includes travel, renting a hall, etc. Third, perform at music conventions. This includes travel, application fees and registration fees.

And finally, my favorite: Record a CD! We will need a total of about $16,000 in funding to get to this level, but if we do, I am super excited at the prospect of a Tromboteam! CD.

If we get closer to this goal, we will offer the professional CD as a reward on our Kickstarter page. These are called "stretch goals" because they refer to our goals beyond the 100% funding mark. As far as I am concerned, it is even more important that supporters of new music back our project now because all of their donations will go towards the dissemination of Tromboteam's product.

EV: How did you decide on which composers to approach?

SP: We asked ourselves these questions: Who has had great success in composing for trombone ensemble; who has written pieces (for any ensemble) that we like; and who has experience writing for brass instruments and would compose an idiomatic piece for trombone ensemble?

When considering the answers to these questions, each of us took the responsibility of contacting two composers that we felt fit the qualifications that we valued. One of the composers that I secured is a very well-known composer and arranger who arranges music for the premiere military bands in Washington DC. He has been writing trombone ensemble music for 20 years.

EV: On the Kickstarter page, you mention a trombone camp for young musicians. Any more information on that?

SP: In the near future, Ohio University will host a Trombone Day for middle school and high school students. Plans are still forming, but it will probably be in January 2013. 

EV: When will Tromboteam! start performing the commissioned pieces?

SP: Our goal is to have our world premiere concert in the summer of 2013.

EV: Where do you see the group in a year?

SP: We'll always be actively performing and educating young musicians and community members around the country. The amount of success that we have with our "stretch" goals will depend directly upon the amount of donations that we receive from now until Oct. 18. 

If we get enough funding to record a CD, we will begin recording within a year. We will likely plan a tour for the fall of 2013, look into publishing our newly-commissioned pieces and plan a week-long trombone camp to take place Summer 2014.

For more information about Tromboteam!, visit www.tromboteam.com.