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  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette IPFW senior Monika Stidham of LaGrange plays her euphonium for Erik Lundquist of the U.S. Air Force Band during his master class Saturday at the Midwest Regional Tuba and Euphonium Conference at the Rhinehart Music Center.

Sunday, April 15, 2018 1:00 am

IPFW puts tubas, euphoniums in spotlight

SHERRY SLATER | The Journal Gazette

Ohio State University's marching band wows crowds by spelling the state's name in script on the football field.

But if you think dotting the “I” in Ohio is the most exciting thing a tuba can do, you don't know brass.

Tubas – and their kissing cousins, euphoniums – are capable of much, much more, enthusiasts say. About 200 of them are gathered this weekend on the IPFW campus for the 2018 Midwest Regional Tuba and Euphonium Conference. The three-day event ends at noon today.

Chance Trottman-Huiet, conference organizer and host, teaches instrumental music at IPFW. The Colorado native and euphonium player is also principal tuba player for the Fort Wayne Philharmonic.

Not that long ago, the tuba wasn't considered a solo instrument, he said. But perceptions have changed.

“It's just as valid” to perform a solo recital with a tuba or euphonium as it is to hold one for piano or violin, he said.

“It's kind of the typical thing for people not to recognize the tuba as a real instrument,” he added.

Some people might be surprised to hear that “Flight of the Bumblebee,” a famous piece traditionally played on trumpet, is just as beautiful when played on euphonium, said Monika Stidham, an IPFW senior and one of Trottman-Huiet's students. 

Trottman-Huiet described the annual conference as a breeding ground for new ideas, new pieces of music and new teaching methods. Tackling familiar pieces with the tuba or euphonium is part of the fun.

“There's lots of experimentation going on in what the tuba is capable of,” he said. “I think this type of event does a very good job of assisting in that.”

The conference also brings former colleagues, students and teachers together. For some, it's a reunion. For others, it's an opportunity to network. 

Stidham, a LaGrange native, played in a master class on Saturday morning and received feedback on her performance from Erik Lundquist, who plays euphonium in the U.S. Air Force Band.

Lundquist's suggestions focused on how phrases work together to make the music one integrated piece. He also talked to her about the pitches of specific notes.

Numerous professionals and students were scheduled to perform during the weekend. Judges included musicians who have played for the New York Philharmonic, the San Francisco Symphony and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.

“Some of the most famous tuba players in America are in this building right here,” Greg Jones said Saturday. Jones chairs IPFW's music department.

Stidham enjoyed interacting with musicians who are at the top of their careers.

“It's really inspiring as I continue my education and playing,” she said.

As far as Trottman-Huiet knows, it's the first time IPFW has hosted the conference. The music instructor acknowledged that some visiting students might decide to enroll here after touring the campus and hearing him perform.

Then again, Trottman-Huiet doesn't want to toot his own horn.

sslater@jg.net