Sunday, April 1, 2012

Bemidji: Artist in Residence in Review

Last week I had the great  honor of spending a week with my friends Sarah Paradis and Bill Kloppenburg while working with students at Bemidji State University in Minnesota.  Some of you might be wondering where that is, well take a right in the middle of nowhere (St. Cloud, MN) and drive three more hours.  Bemidji is actually the home of Paul Bunyan and the entire town is fascinated with his folklore. Everything from flanel to amazing pancakes to chopped lumber, and frozen lakes can be found in the incredibly beautiful town.

While in residence at BSU I gave a recital, masterclass, lessons, a lecture, and soloed with the community trombone choir.  Everyone was excited and we completed some great work.  I was surprised at the level of students, Sarah is doing great work with some gifted youngsters.

Talking about phrasing and style with Steve Radley

The Bemidji Trombone Choir is actually a community trombone ensemble made up of musicians from over 80 miles away.  The concert went well and featured a variety of music including my first arrangement. The choir was kind enough to play Avant de Quitter ces Lieux from Gounod's Faust.  I scored the ensemble for 5 trombones and was surprised when I played infront of 12 musicians.  Needles to say, I am little closer to the goal (160dbs).

Sarah Paradis (Conductor) Russ Zokaites (Soloist)
Bemidji Trombones (Choir)

Sarah and I before an amazing night