Next Stop: Thailand

Black Bayou Brass departs tomorrow for our recital and residency at Mahidol University in Thailand.  We are extremely excited about this trip, and are looking forward to representing our university on the other side of the world (map of Thailand linked from travel.state.gov/). Though some parts of our schedule there are still being worked out, we will be performing several times, as well as holding master classes. Here’s an overview of our trip.

  • May 30-June 1: Travel (more on that in a minute)
  • June 5: Improvisation master class at Mahidol University, presented by Black Bayou Brass trumpet player Alex Noppe
  • June 5: Guest artist recital at Mahidol University, to be broadcast on Thai Public Television
  • June 6: Individual instrument master classes for Mahidol students
  • June 7: Performance at Silpakorn University
  • June 8: Performance at Royal Thai Navy School of Music
  • June 9: Return to U.S.

I am sure there will be plenty of other activities to add to this schedule, including sight-seeing, additional performances, and some amazing cuisine. If you are interested in more details about our trip, I’ll be posting frequent updates (with pictures) to this blog, and possibly Facebook as well.

Though I hardly qualify as a world traveler, I have been on long flights before, though not in a long time. Colleagues with more travel experience have provided some useful tips for dealing with jet-lag, including frequent walks up and down the aircraft’s cabin, switching to the destination country’s time zone during the flight (12 hour difference between here and Thailand), and drinking plenty of water. If you have any last minute tips for coping with long flights, please share them!  We planned our trip so that we’ll have a few days to recuperate and rehearse once we arrive in Thailand, but obviously we want to get there in the best shape possible. My packing list is extensive, but here are a few items that other brass players might be interested in.  Traveling with me as a carry on:

  • Horn
  • Practice Mute (Anyone out there been able to practice successfully during a long flight?)
  • Lip Balm
  • Reading material on a tablet device, including several horn-related dissertations I’ve been meaning to peruse
  • Music, scanned and uploaded in pdf to tablet (This is a new thing for me, but will reduce several pounds of weight from my baggage, not to mention providing a great backup for concert music.)
  • Water bottle, with filter (empty, until after passing through security)
  • Noise-reducing headphones, with Mp3 player (for when I get tired of reading)
  • Ear plugs

That, plus the other basic necessities (toothbrush, pillow, etc.) will be enough hopefully to make it through the first leg of the journey, a 14 hour flight from Houston to Doha, Qatar. After a brief layover there it’s on to Bangkok (a 7 hour flight) and Mahidol. A huge thank you is in order for Daren Robbins, horn professor at Mahidol, for working out numerous logistics on his end. Daren has done an incredible job organizing everything in preparation for our visit, including a great publicity poster (see below), and a link on the Mahidol website.

On Tour

This weekend I’ll be on a mini-tour with Black Bayou Brass, performing and giving master classes in the Dallas, TX area. On Friday we’ll be playing several concerts at Richardson High School and McKinney North High School. These schools have great band programs, and I’m looking forward to meeting and working with their students. One interesting note about our visit to McKinney North is that it is on the same day as a visit by this famous author, whose latest novel is set in Dallas. Mr. King will be speaking to a packed house that evening at the school, and through an incredible set of coincidences we’ve been asked to provide a little pre-lecture music in addition to our afternoon concert. This promises to be an interesting event and I’ll report back on it next week!

On Saturday we’ll be performing concerts and holding master classes at two Music and Arts stores, the first in Allen, TX from 11-1pm, and the second in Frisco, TX from 3-5pm (click on the links for more information). If you are in the area we’d love to see you at either of these free events. I’d like to personally thank Andy Downing, District Manager for Music and Arts, for hosting this event and inviting us to be guest artists for it. We’ve put together an entertaining and engaging program for these concerts, with a mix of both old and new. Here are the works we’ll be performing, although we usually tailor our programs to fit each venue depending on the amount of time we have to play. Although I’ve often lamented on this blog the relative scarcity of brass trio music, our low brass professor Dr. Micah Everett has been hard at work putting together some great arrangements for our concerts. In addition, Roger Jones graciously composed a very nice opener for us.

  • Doodles, Fanfare for Brass Trio, by Roger Jones
  • Figaro Metamorphosen, by Jan Koetsier
  • Madrigals, by Thomas Morley/arr. Micah Everett
  • The Brass Abacus, by William Schmidt
  • Rondo from Double Bass Concerto, by Antonio Capuzzi/arr. Everett
  • Three Early Jazz Favorites, arr. Everett
  • Flight of the Bumble Bee, by Rimsky-Korskov/arr. Everett
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