Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Masterworks Festival

Hello all,
These next two weeks I'm going to be playing in the Masterworks Festival Orchestra and helping them fill some spots in the trombone section.
The Masterworks Festival is a Christian performing arts festival that trains musicians, actors, and dancers in a rigorous environment. You could consider it the "Christian" Aspen festival because the teachers they bring are some of the best performers out there in major orchestras and teaching posts as well.
These next two weeks I don't have any duties with Wagon Wheel so I have been given the opportunity to play and intermingle with the masterworks people. The orchestra I'm in will be performing Brahms First symphony on friday. This piece has been one of my favorites since I was literally a little kid. And this piece is often asked on auditions due to the sectional playing in the last movement (the only place where the trombones play). So it is going to be great experience being able to play first part on this absolutely beautiful piece. :)

From J-man

The length of hair

So my hair is actually getting long. ya know the long kind that goes past the ears and is touching the collar (against certain standards in some parts of the world). Yea that long.........and it's AWESOME!!

from J-man

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Joy of God and Trombone: Together as One

Hello All,
A good friend of mine and myself recently were at an assisted living facility leading a group hymn sing-a-long with the 'ole folk there. I normally don't lead but the regular leader was out of town due to wedding bells. The last time we were at the hymn sing-a-long one of the gentlemen asked me if I brought my trombone to play. Sad to say, I didn't that Sunday but this Sunday I decided I would since it seemed like he was always wanting me to bring it. Well it was his lucky day because it was his birthday as well.
I played happy birthday for him and everyone sang to him, then we began singing some hymns. I led a few songs by voice and others by playing the trombone. Towards the end of the time, they were all just wanting me to play. So I did and let them join in with singing if they wanted to. It was a grand time. I thought of how Homer Rodeheaver used to do the same thing when leading Billy Sunday revivals. I never had really done that sort of thing, leading a sing-a-long by trombone.............but honestly I had always wanted to :-)
We got towards the end and I finished with a couple great hymns of the faith. I ended the time with the hymn "How Great Thou Art" because it has such a beautiful melody and truth. While I was playing I noticed one of the ladies had her eyes closed, head tilted back, smile on her face, and just listening to the words. This was so exciting for me for a few reasons. One was I remember hearing a story once of 'ole George Roberts (considered "Mr. Bass Trombone") playing simple melodies of the Sinatra era for his wife. And he always knew she was enjoying the song whenever she had her eyes closed and a smile on her face. As I saw that it made me think how a simple hymn melody allows a person to engage in the Joy of God and engage in praising/worshiping God. No words; just music.
It also reminded me that I play the trombone because I enjoy playing the trombone. It's that simple. And I enjoy the Joy of the Lord. What better way to enjoy both things at the same time with other people.

ENJOY the Joy of God and the Joy of Music

From J-man
(Psalm 31:14-15)

Sunday, June 1, 2008

My Purpose with the 'Ole Trombone

Hello All,
About a week ago, my parents and I went down to the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, North Carolina for Memorial Day. This place at first sight looks dedicated to a man who literally has gone everywhere for one purpose--give the Gospel of Christ to others. But this is not the case. This ministry (billy graham evangelism association) has built a museum about Billy's life and ministry in order to proclaim the Gospel of Christ. It is just another tool God is using to further His Word. All in all, the library is very inspiring and motivating, showing how a man fulfilled The Great Commission.
We were in the Prayer Garden where Ruth Graham is buried and we're singing with some others and an elder man asked if any of us with like to give a testimony. So I did and explained how with my trombone playing, it is a ministry. Many times we consider ministry being working at a church or Christian organization, but everything we as Believers do is for ministry if we have the right focus.
And there is no difference in the music business. It can be a lost world, and very self-proclaimed world. I was reminded of Matthew 5 where Christ talks about being salt and light. Playing my trombone is a witness to others and it is my ministry. My Christianity, my relationship with Christ comes first. Christ is everything and nothing else matters. He gave me the talent to play the 'ole trombone, why not play really well for Him. So I have to work my tail to be just as good and better than the next guy.
My goal is to be a Christian who happens to be a Trombonist, not be a Trombonist who happens to be a Christian.

From J-man
Psalm 31:14-15

Wagon Wheel and Trombone

Wow!!! it seemed like the month of May would never end, but June is finally here. And it is the start of a truly exciting summer. Last time I wrote on here I was in the Dallas airport leaving from a successful experience with an audition is San Antonio. Leaving there has pushed me to keep going in my trombone experience. I emailed the audition coordinator with the SASO about if I could receive the judges' comments from the audition. I knew there probably wouldn't be much to comment being that I played for about a minute. But every little bit helps.
So I was able to receive a phone call from San Antonio's principal trumpet who was a judge, and she gave some very beneficial comments. She was encouraging about how to prepare myself for future auditions. Two things were gained from my conversation with her. The first was it's funny how she told me some of the same things my teacher told me, about constantly recording yourself and truly listening to pitch, rhythm, and just the sound. Second was particularly with the Mozart Requiem. I thought this was one of the best times I played it, but she commented on some pitch issues. This goes to show that had I listened more to myself taped I could have made adjustments. Plus my ear had come immune to what it was hearing and thought it was good. But all in all, a fruitful conversation on the phone.
A friend recently asked me what is next for Jeremy Smith. Well, this summer I have the opportunity to play at the Wagon Wheel Theatre in their pit orchestra. The professional theater is located in Warsaw, Indiana where Grace College is so I know the area very well. The music is difficult which is the way I like it because I can't blow it off. Our first show is the Wizard of Oz, and it is some fun music :-)
In regards to auditions, there are two competitions I'm going to work towards. One is in December. It is the International Trombone Association Lewis Van Haney Philharmonic Prize, which is basically a mock audition competition. I entered last year but didn't score too well. The other is in February. It is the Zellmer Trombone Competition sponsored by the Minnesota Orchestra. Again this competition is a mock audition competition. Both are first judged by audition tapes, so I will need to focus much more on listening to myself via recording myself.
Whelp that's what is going on in the life of Jeremy Smith and his 'ole trombone.

Jeremy (Psalm 31:4-15)