Now at capacity, 11th OU Trombone Day provides opportunities for trombonists of all skill levels

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ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) – Ohio University Trombone Day 2024 happens on Friday, featuring a whole schedule of trombone-related activities.

The event is now at capacity for participants, but the public is still invited to attend a highly anticipated recital from trombonist Christian Lindberg and pianist Roland Pöntinen at 8 p.m. Friday at the Athens First United Methodist Church.

WOUB Culture conducted an interview via email with Ohio University Trombone Day Director Dr. Lucas Rego Borges about the event. Find that interview below, and find more information on the event itself at this link

A flyer advertising Trombone Day 2024 on Ohio University's campus.

Emily Votaw: What is Trombone Day, and how long has Ohio University been participating in it?

Lucas Rego Borges: This year’s event is the 11th, celebrating 10 years of continuous events. Before Trombone Day, Ohio University was a Low Brass event focused on low brass instruments like trombone, tuba, and euphonium, which Dr. Christopher Hayes and Dr. Jason Roland Smith ran. In 2014, Dr. Sarah Paradis, the trombone professor, started Trombone Day, a day dedicated to celebrating the instrument, its music, rich history, artists, and community.

There are many similar events worldwide, from one-day events like ours to long festivals. Trombone players are community people; we like to gather and play together. It has to do with the historical function and nature of the instrument. That being said, the Ohio University Trombone Day has become a staple of the trombone community in Ohio and surrounding states.

“Trombone players are community people; we like to gather and play together. It has to do with the historical function and nature of the instrument. That being said, the Ohio University Trombone Day has become a staple of the trombone community in Ohio and surrounding states.” – Dr. Lucas Rego Borges, Director of Ohio University Trombone Day

How do trombone players and brass enthusiasts of different levels benefit from participating in Ohio University Trombone Day?

Borges: First, everyone will benefit by hearing, learning, and interacting with the world-class artists we bring. We have various trombone artists who brought something special in their performance, pedagogy, experiences, and personalities.

I start the day by running a “warmup” session, where we all do playing exercises together, and I share some thoughts on practicing and playing the trombone. The featured guest artists usually give a class where they hear some students, provide feedback, and discuss specific topics. They usually also perform a recital, often with the Ohio University Trombone Choir. We also have a mass trombone choir, or a few like this year, where everyone participating gets to play, which is a lot of fun. We also have an instrument exhibitor who brings instruments and accessories for people to try out. Finally, we all spend time chatting and hanging out with each other.

Could you share more information about the mass trombone choir? How does the rehearsal process work, and what pieces are planned for the performance?

Borges: We usually do one piece, have half an hour of rehearsal, and perform closing the event’s final concert. I typically like to do a piece organized into three groups: the Ohio University Trombone Choir, the participant’s choir, and a soloist(s) featuring our guest artists. Only a few pieces are written for that formation, so I have commissioned people to write pieces specific to the event.

This year’s event will be so big that we will split into four participants in the choirs. Each choir will play one piece, and we will combine them all to perform 76 Trombones from the musical Music Man, an arrangement by Tom Camp commissioned for the event to embrace players of all levels. The Trombone Choir performance will be at 5 p.m. in the School of Music Recital Hall.

One of the highlights of this year’s event will be a master class by Christian Lindberg, which will be at 2 p.m. and open to participants and Ohio University students only. Three students have already been selected to perform, and Mr. Lindberg will coach them in front of everyone, which is valuable to all. Then, we will have some time for a Q&A from everyone.

The final concert features trombonist Christian Lindberg and pianist Roland Pöntinen.  Could you explain why these musicians are so significant and why there is excitement around their performance in Athens?

Borges: Christian Lindberg is, without hyperbole, the most important classical trombone soloist in history. When his first recordings appeared in the early ’80s, they shook the classical music world. Nobody could believe that a trombone could do what he was doing in that recording. He quickly became famous and did something unprecedented in history; he became a full-time classical music soloist, performing recitals and concertos with orchestras worldwide for a living– a role usually reserved for violin, piano, and cello players, and only a few of them. Since then, Christian has recorded dozens and dozens of albums. The most exciting part is that most of his albums are for trombone and piano, including the first one that changed everything, and the pianist on all those albums is Roland Pöntinen.

However, they don’t constantly tour together; they planned this US tour right before the pandemic, celebrating their 40-year anniversary, but it did not happen. It is happening a few years later, but it is happening! Honestly, I still can’t believe we will have free access to that recital in Athens!

Finally, Christian and Roland are unique, fun, and enthusiastic performers and composers. Their recital program includes trombone and piano repertoire classics, exceptional arrangements of beloved classical pieces that we all love, and some of their most exciting compositions.

I honestly think that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the Athens community. The recital is FREE and open to the public on January 26 at 8 p.m. at the Athens First United Methodist Church (2 South College Street).