The World Trumpet Society is Born

On a blustery day in mid December in 2014 at the Midwest Band Clinic in Chicago, Illinois, as I aimlessly wandered through the exhibits, I had no idea that my life was about to change dramatically. It was like any other conference with all of the hub-bub of a hundred different things going on in a wide range of performances, master classes, panel discussions and exhibits. It was really no different than the dozens of conferences that many of us in the music business attend each year as performers, teachers or exhibitors.

Towards the end of this particular day, though, as I passed through the main upstairs lobby for perhaps the 5th or 6th time that day, I ran into Richard Stoelzel. At that point in time, Rich was the Professor of Trumpet at Grand Valley State University and had been there for over a decade. He and his wife Val had also been the hosts of the ITG Conference the previous year (2013) in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I first met Rich and Val at that ITG Conference and had some limited conversation with each of them regarding a memorial photo gathering I put together honoring Derek Watkins who had passed away a couple of months earlier. What I remembered most about Rich and Val was the way they ran the ITG Seminar in Grand Rapids. It basically changed the way that the ITG formatted their seminars from that point on.

In the course of the conversation I had with Rich, he mentioned his idea for a new trumpet organization that he wanted to form. I was unfamiliar on how to do something of that nature as most of my experience had been with playing rock and roll and R&B music with touring bands. I also wanted to know how it would differ from what the ITG was already doing. He proceeded to explain how his seminars at Grand Valley State worked, which were indeed different from what the ITG was engaged in. He asked if I would be interested in supporting such an effort and I enthusiastically said that I would be.

About 2 months later, Rich phoned me to ask if I would like to join him in Meppen, Germany to participate in a seminar that would be an unofficial launching of the World Trumpet Society. We held the very first seminar in late March, 2015 with Andreas Lögering and Matthias Kamps hosting a full brass conference at a college in Meppen. During that week, we played, taught and had meetings about how to shape this budding new trumpet organization. Rich and I were also joined by Jose Chafer (Spain), Slawek Cichor (Poland), Matthias Kamps (Germany) and Andreas Lögering (Germany).

Taking on a task of this voluminous nature was, to say the least, daunting. The real hurdle, was the language barrier. We all voted to make the official language English, but even that did not ensure that communication would be any easier. We agreed to have an annual seminar that would be located in a different country every year. And lastly, we put our board in place to try and make sure we could move forward with people that we knew were committed to the furtherance of the concept of a worldwide organization.

After leaving Meppen, some time passed and we tried to move forward with things, but it all stalled when Rich left Grand Valley State University for McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. At that point everything with the new WTS faded into the background in lieu of Rich and Val getting settled into a new country, a new home and for Rich a new position with greater responsibilities then he had at GVSU.  As a result, things with the WTS looked bleak. Rich and I kept in touch after that with a phone call every once in a while, but it seemed as though all the things we dreamed of doing with newly minted WTS, might not happen.

The reason Rich, myself and our European counterparts formed the WTS was to create a more tangible link to trumpet communities around the world and help further the cause of trumpet through better communication and outreach. We feel that by setting up formal chapters in each country we visit, we can help to centralize each country’s trumpet performers and educators not only to bring them closer together within their own country, but with the rest of the world trumpet community as well.

Our goal, was to create a WTS chapter in each country that is interested in participating with our efforts. Our aim is to engage in a global conversation related to trumpet performance and pedagogy that can help educate and advance the awareness of every aspect of trumpet teaching and performance. We will discuss ideas and concepts, both old and new, that will stimulate conversation between trumpet students and professionals. Our desire is that each country will then share their knowledge and ideas with the rest of the WTS Family.

Each country will establish their own Executive Board, which will help to organize and coordinate their country’s chapter and administer their own annual national seminars. They will also establish their own Advisory Boards, which should be comprised of the country’s top trumpet performers and educators. They can then construct their own websites that will help them connect with the rest of the WTS chapters around the world. This will help each chapter share their own ideas and talent with other trumpet players worldwide.

Our inaugural seminar will take place from August 20-25, 2019 at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. We felt that being a worldwide organization we should hold the very first seminar in a country other than the United States. The WTS, while encouraging trumpet performance at the highest levels, hopes to focus on more of a pedagogical approach to our seminars. We hope to bring our participants in closer proximity with our guest artists, which can help them articulate their own questions about the trumpet and have it result in immediate feedback from successful trumpet professionals. Our curriculum will involve group warm-ups, group lessons and coaching sessions, class lectures, competitions, master classes, recitals and concerts.

We truly hope you will join us there to share in what we feel will be the first of many WTS Seminars all over the world!