Ohio University and local high school students have the opportunity once a year to celebrate Trombone Day in a day filled with master classes and concert performances. But for freshman Jared Kitchen, every day is Trombone Day.
“The trombone is so unique because it contains the whole music spectrum in a five-foot slide,” Kitchen said. “Any instrument can play any scale, but it’s harder to slide on the trombone. It’s just the best instrument.”
Kitchen, a music education major, has been playing trombone since the sixth grade. He discovered his love of trombone through his middle school band director, and has been hooked ever since. He has been looking forward to Trombone Day, which will take place Sunday, since the beginning of his involvement with the OU trombone department.
“We have so many cool opportunities in the trombone department,” Kitchen said. “I feel so lucky to be able to be in this program and to play with students and professionals who have such amazing talent.”
Lucas Borges, an assistant professor of trombone, has been running the event since 2015, the year he joined the OU music staff.
Every year Borges and OU work together to bring a professional trombonist to work with the students on preparing for the professional world of trombone and provide different perspectives on technique and artistry. This year, Peter Ellefson, a professor of music at Indiana University, will teach a master class, perform a solo and perform with the trombone students at the final concert.
“The students hear from me every day about the trombone,” Borges said. “It’s important that they hear from different people who have different perspectives on the instrument. In this area, we aren’t graced with major international musicians frequently coming to town, especially with brass instruments. So this day is a great opportunity to bring some to the university that can perform and work with students.”
The concert at the end of the day consists of a few trombone groups. First, the OU trombone choir will play, then Ellefson will perform a solo and play with the trombone choir. Another trombone choir comprised of guest professionals who live within two hours of Athens will perform, and the event will finish with a massive trombone choir of everyone who participated in the concert.
However, the day is not just important to students. Instructors from the music school are excited to take part in the activities and watch their students perform onstage.
Joseph Brown, an adjunct professor in the School of Music, also plays the trombone, and looks forward to the Trombone Day activities every year.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for the students to get some experience, not only playing for other people, but bringing in world-class artists to do master classes and play for them,” Brown said. “It’s a great way to expose our students to people who are out actually doing things in the world of trombone, which is what a lot of the students want to do.”
Kitchen has had a lot of memories in his trombone career, but none compare to working with the trombone department at OU.
“Music has changed my life, and I attribute that love of music to the trombone,” Kitchen said. “I wouldn’t have met the people I love now or pursued the major I’m in without playing the trombone. So for days like Trombone Day and the instrument itself, I’m grateful.”