John Meehan Talks Trombones
With certain rule changes over the past several years, allowing more “non-traditional” brass instruments onto the drum corps field, we decided to add Trombones to our brass choir for the 2016 season. At first, we battled issues like how many do we want to use, what style do we want to get (or do we want to get different types), and of course, silver or lacquer. Well, out of those questions, the easiest for me was silver, as drum corps brass instruments are typically silver, and we wanted to match the rest of our inventory. The others were a bit more challenging…
We decided to feature our entire Euphonium section on Trombone for a large portion of the first production, so we went with 24. We knew if we wanted to feature other groups of Trombones later in the show, we could without having to do 24 again (which we did, featuring 16 in our 2nd production).
We tested 3 different Trombones at our January camp, and made the decision to go with an F attachment tenor trombone, which allowed us to do pretty much everything we wanted. W could now play in the upper register, as well as down to the low bass trombone register.
At our February camp, we had most of the horns. We started listening to segments of the written show music on the trombones, figuring out HOW we wanted to feature and write for them, as well as who in our Euphonium line actually had experience on the Trombone. Surprisingly, over 1/2 the section did NOT have a lot of Trombone experience. We then knew, while we’d be OK in the end, some extra work during technique blocks would need to be spent on developing and refining the sections skills throughout the season.
For us, utilizing Trombones in the show meant treating them like a specialized instrument. We didn’t want to write for them as you would a Euphonium, as we should then just play a Euphonium. So, we really took our time designing and writing around that fact musically, and looking back on it now, I LOVE how we treated that voice and can’t wait to hear those 24 musicians in the dome in Indy.
Oh, and as I mentioned in an earlier blog post, Trombones are loud 🙂