Last weekend, I traveled to Queensbury, NY for the first annual SUNY Adirondack Horn Day. My good friend Joshua Thompson is the horn professor at the college, and put together a great program of masterclasses and performances. The program featured horn quartet Velocity Horns, with whom I played at the Northeast Horn Workshop in March.
Velocity Horns gave a masterclass on section playing, explaining the different roles each horn part plays in an orchestral setting. Many students had limited exposure to orchestral horn writing. They really liked the idea of an assistant! I'm sure they'd experienced fatigue when playing first in band.
After section playing with Velocity Horns, I did a masterclass on solo playing with several students. Two students were college level, and a third was in his senior year of high school. The college players performed Mozart and the Strauss Nocturno well, but I was particularly impressed by the high school student's performance of Mozart 4. His high range was incredibly clear, and while he needed some direction as far as air quality and keeping the tempo, his facility on the horn was great.
The masterclasses complete, we moved to the auditorium for the 5pm horn ensemble concert. Velocity Horns opened with a few favorites including Tcherepnin, Fripperies and some Debussy. The horn day's Octet then took the stage, and we had a great time performing for the kids. Selections included Turner's Grand Canyon Suite, and nice arrangement of Handel's Water Music. The kids seemed to enjoy the performances, and I was able to speak with a few of them throughout the day outside of the masterclass. Josh has some very talented and interesting kids to work with, it's not always easy to keep the attention of teenagers by talking about horn all day!
The next day I was able to tour Gloversville, and find out that indeed, the main industry was once... gloves. It's a beautiful New-Englandesque town, with an amazing amount of cultural activity going on.
In addition to his position on faculty at SUNY Adirondack, Josh operates Gloversville Community Music:
Gloversville Community Music is dedicated to providing the community with quality private lessons and performance opportunities. Students past and present have included middle and high school students, college students, as well as adult community members who simply love music. This year, GCM has started a wind ensemble that places students alongside with professional and collegiate musicians from the Capital District of New York. Students past and present have performed with the New York State All-State Ensembles, the Capital Region Wind Ensemble, the Empire State Youth Orchestra and the Gloversville Civic Band.