Trombones at Tech Christmas recording will help you slide into the holiday spirit

Need a little help sliding into the holiday spirit? Then look no farther than the recently released Christmas album by Tennessee Tech University’s trombone student choir.

Christmas Trombones: Slidin’ into the Holidays, performed by Trombones at Tech students and Director Joshua Hauser and recorded and edited by TTU music students, offers 23 holiday songs with styles ranging from classical to popular.

The student-centered concept for the Christmas recording was based on a process Trombones at Tech first applied to another recent recording, Arete: Striving to be the best one can be in all things, which received a university grant for the real-world experience it offered by being completely student performed, recorded and edited.

“Variety was one of our primary goals for the Christmas recording because we really wanted it to offer something for everyone,” said Hauser. “We even included a couple of pieces not normally associated with Christmas — Mozart’s “Ave Verum Corpus” and Brahms’ “Lullaby” — because we felt they just fit with the spirit of the album.”

The recording intersperses traditional Christmas carols such as “Jingle Bells” and “Deck the Halls” among other classical pieces like Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” and selections from Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker.

A few pieces from popular culture, such as “The Chipmunk Song” and “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” serve to round out the variety of the recording, which culminates with two well-known songs from A Charlie Brown Christmas.

Perhaps the one song most definitive of the album’s liveliness, however, is the Trombones at Tech version of “Joy to the World” that combines Handel’s classical arrangement with Hoyt Axton’s popular version of the song.

Two of the traditional Christmas carols on the recording — “We Three Kings” and “Oh Come, All Ye Faithful” — were arranged by Carroll Gotcher, a TTU graduate who is now band director at Jackson County High School.

Even the cover illustration — depicting Santa Claus leading a trombone choir of elves — reflects the varied spirit of the album, Hauser said. “It was designed by a friend of mine from high school who is now a graphic artist living and working in the Czech Republic.”

The Tennessee Tech trombone choir was established by Larry Hoepfinger in 1967 and directed by him for nearly 30 years. Hauser became director of the newly rechristened Trombones at Tech in 2000.

The ensemble performs several concerts each year to encourage knowledge and appreciation of the trombone both on campus and throughout the region.

Tenor trombones featured on the holiday recording include Ryan Carpenter from Mt. Carmel, Adam Cox from Tullahoma, Weston Demonbreun of Gallatin, William Elliot of Smyrna, Aaron Johnson of Tullahoma, Fred Nelson of Murfreesboro, Stephen Pulk of Smyrna and Robert Thatch of Rock Island.

Bass trombones are Joey Blackwell of Tullahoma, Alex Sears of Murfreesboro and Craig Watson of Smithville.

Percussion student Andrew Coggin provided editing assistance.

Christmas Trombones: Slidin’ into the Holidays, produced by Mark Records of Buffalo, N.Y., is available for $15 at Amazon.com. Copies can also be purchased by contacting Hauser at 931/372-6086 or e-mailing him at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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