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Alumni Return to the Valley for Low Brass Ensemble Reunion Concert July 28
07.23.13 |
On Sunday, July 28 at 3 p.m., Lutz Hall will be filled with the sounds of brass as 36 Lebanon Valley College alumni return to the Annville campus for low brass ensemble reunion concert in celebration of James Erdman's 30th year as low brass adjunct instructor. These far-flung graduates will travel "home" to their alma mater from as far away as Abilene, Texas and Campbeltown, Scotland, representing the Class of 1983, the year Erdman joined the LVC faculty, to 2013, with some of his most recent students.

The concert will feature trombones, bass trombones, euphoniums, and tubas in a program of varied selections from Samuel Barber's "Adagio" to the light-hearted music of Duke Ellington and Jimmy Van Heusen. John Philip Sousa will also be spotlighted, along with Rodney Miller, a local composer and arranger and 1977 graduate of Lebanon Valley, as both names bear special meaning to Erdman.

The Sousa feature has historical significance: from 1880 to 1892, Sousa was director of "The President's Own" United States Marine Band, the same band in which Erdman performed years later as the principal trombone soloist from 1956 to 1976. He had the honor of performing at least 500 times at the White House and completed 19 tours around the country.

The connection to Miller is more recent. Before Miller's death in 2006, the two were dear friends. He wrote many arrangements for Erdman's professional trombone quartet, Quartet Die Posaunen, which gained national prominence as the first quartet of trombones "in residence" in an American college or university.

Virtually all of the alumni coming to perform on July 28 have pursued careers within the field of music. More than half earned a music education degrees and have found employment as music teachers and band directors. The others are full-time professional musicians who perform for a living. Most have managed to continue playing their respective instruments over the years, testifying to the permanent satisfaction one can derive from playing a musical instrument for a lifetime.

"If anything can top performing as a source of musical fulfillment, it's staying in touch with your own students over the years and seeing the pleasure they derive from performing on their instruments, and I'm talking about any level of achievement," Erdman said. "As someone who's performed and taught as long as I have, I can't imagine anything in the teaching profession that's more gratifying."

The July 28 concert is free and open to the public.

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