“Tennessee Tech University presented its first Octubafest in 1975 — and we’re going to keep doing it until we get everything right!” joked Winston Morris, founder and director of the Tennessee Tech Tuba Ensemble.
A look at the history of the acclaimed group of student musicians, however, reveals that, with an unprecedented six performances at New York’s famed Carnegie Hall, it has gotten almost everything right. The most recorded such group of its kind, it’s also the only music ensemble in the state to win a Tennessee Board of Regents Academic Award for Excellence and Quality.
Octubafest 2005 events include:
• A guest euphonium recital by Martin Cochran on Thursday, Oct. 20, at 7:30 p.m. followed by Jesse Chavez presenting a student tuba recital at 8:45 p.m.
Cochran is a native of New Orleans and is currently assistant professor of instrumental music and low brass at the University of Montevallo. He received his doctorate in musical arts from the University of Alabama and has professional, collegiate and high school ensemble credentials all over the southeastern United States, as well as the British Isles. Martin has served as the assistant conductor of the University of Alabama Wind Ensemble and also holds a private studio of low brass players in Birmingham.
• Josh Butterfield and Martin McFarlane combine their tuba talents in a student recital on Friday, Oct. 21, at 7 p.m. followed by another student tuba recital by Kyle Huron at 8:30 p.m.
• TTU students will show off both the tuba and euphonium simultaneously on Saturday, Oct. 22, with a recital at 5 p.m. Keith Kile and Josh Rose will follow with another combination student recital at 7:30 p.m. And Ben McMillan will close the day out with a euphonium recital at 8:30 p.m.
• Amy Merritt and Kyle Newland will present a student tuba and euphonium recital at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 23, followed by another student tuba and euphonium recital at 5 p.m. Aaron Marsee ends the day with a 7:30 p.m. student euphonium recital.
• On Monday, Oct. 24, special guest artist Bryce Edwards will present a euphonium recital at 7 p.m. followed by a concert by “Eutubia,” a student euphonium and tuba quartet, at 8 p.m.
Edwards is a euphonium player with “Mr. Jack Daniel’s Original Silver Cornet Band” and plays trombone at the Cumberland County Playhouse in Crossville. He teaches privately in and around Putnam County during his spare time. Edwards received his bachelor’s degree in music education from TTU and his master’s in euphonium performance from Indiana University.
• Tuesday, Oct. 25 will see Gail Robertson in a guest artist euphonium recital at 7:30 p.m. At 8:45 p.m., “Three Guys, a Girl and a Tuba Quartet,” the TTU Euphonium Choir and the Tubaholics, will merge with what is hoped to be a unique musical experience.
Robertson hails from Pompano Beach, Fla., and was one of the founding members of the Walt Disney World group, “Tubafours.” The group, under her guidance, released a CD entitled, “Tubas Under the Boardwalk.” A member of “Symphonia” — America’s premier tuba and euphonium ensemble — she is also currently instructor of tuba and euphonium at the University of Central Florida. Robertson is also a judge for the Leonard Falcone Tuba and Euphonium Competition, International Tuba and Euphonium Conference Competitions and the Florida Bandmasters Association.
• The highlight of this year’s Octubafest will feature the Tennessee Tech Tuba Ensemble, along with special guest soloists Bryce Edwards and Gail Robertson and Amy Merritt as a featured euphonium student soloist, in a performance on Wednesday, Oct. 26, at 7:30 p.m.
The program will include such pieces as “Rhapsody for Euphonium” by Jim Curnow and arranged by Jon Oliver, “The Gallant Seventh” by John Phillip Sousa and arranged by Keith Kile and “007 Suite,” selections from famous James Bond movies arranged by Robertson.
All Octubafest events are free and open to the public. For more information, call TTU’s department of music and art at 931/372-3161.