Solo performances, dynamic group.
On Wednesday, April 17 in Carole Chapel, the eight-man Trumpet Studio under the direction of Lecturer Michael Averett performed solos displaying their hard work and passions. The recital was performed in front of friends and family who were proud and excited to support the group. Each member’s skill and joy in playing the trumpet was apparent in their performance.
“This is my fourth time doing this,” said sophomore Aaron Nelson. “You still get nervous every time you’re about to perform something, but it’s also exciting, especially if you really enjoy your piece.”
Each player spent a few minutes warming up with piano accompanist Cathy Altman. Altman makes herself available for lessons leading up to performances and is greatly appreciated by each member of the group.
“It’s really unique because each person is unique,” Averett said of working with the group. “They have different needs, skill sets, strengths and weakness. Some people are music majors and minors and some just participate in music. They’re playing at different levels, and you get pieces at different levels.”
Each member of the studio participates in a once-a-week trumpet studio class in addition to one-on-one lessons throughout the week. Averett works with the musicians to find pieces that challenge them as a player and entice them as a performer. He describes three major ways that the performers challenge themselves; to be able to play difficult pieces, to be better than they were the prior semester, and to push one another through friendly internal competition.
“We all feed off of each other,” said senior biology major Jayson Quicksall. “It’s not toxic in any way. Dr. Averett and I have worked hard to create this kind of fraternity; we had a couple of females last semester, but they changed majors. We try to foster this healthy competition between one another and try to make sure everyone is playing the best that they really can.”
“A lot of times, non-majors and minors are playing some pretty easy pieces and this time everyone was playing really significant literature from trumpet repertoire,” said Averett. “I think that’s maybe a first. We’ve been doing this for years and years and I think this is maybe the first one ever when every single person was playing a very serious piece from literature.”
Pieces ranged from concertos to sonatas, each presenting unique challenges and features to the musicians’ performances.
“You always have the nerves at the beginning that kind of settle in,” said Quicksall. “A couple of guys from the saxophone group came in [to support] and that kind of settled me into the pocket. You finally start going and it’s kind of like riding on a rollercoaster.”
For many musicians, music is a way to express themselves and alleviate stress in their lives. For Quicksall, playing the trumpet is his way of doing this.
“Trumpet is like my release,” said Quicksall. “I’m a biology major here at Washburn and it’s a crazy course load, so it’s nice to be able to have these ensembles and time with Dr. Averett to step into a totally different world where, instead of worrying about molecules and enzymes, I’m looking at music and expression of the human soul. That’s been invaluable to my time here at Washburn.”