The Tennessee Tech Tuba Ensemble recently performed for a packed house at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall for the eighth time in its nearly 50-year history, 38 years exactly after its first performance there on March 13, 1976.
“It’s an honor to play at Carnegie Hall; not many people get to do that and here I am, a chemistry major, and I get to experience it through the ensemble,” said junior Tullahoma native Amanda Werlein, who plays the euphonium with the ensemble. “There, we had family there to watch us. Here, it is our peers coming to see us.”
The concert will feature several pieces, including arrangements of Winter from Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons,” the theme from the film “2001: A Space Odyssey,” and several pieces that have their roots in Tennessee Tech.
Cookeville resident and TTU alumnus Ben McMillan, TTU composer-in-residence Greg Danner and trombone professor Joshua Hauser all composed pieces for the tuba ensemble which will also be played in the Carnegie Hall reprise concert, to be held in TTU’s Derryberry Auditorium.
These are not the first pieces that have been written for the tuba ensemble. The ensemble was the first of its kind and is responsible for the composing and arranging of more music for tuba ensemble than any other group of its kind, according to R. Winston Morris, TTU tuba professor, founder and director of the ensemble.
The Tennessee Board of Regents recently gave its Academic Excellence and Quality Award to the tuba ensemble. It is the only performing ensemble to receive the award.
“Maybe it’s just our wishful thinking, but I think each Carnegie performance got better and better,” said Morris.
The tuba ensemble will have performed more than 60 times this academic year, including appearances at the National Music Educators convention and the U.S. Army Band tuba conference in Washington, D.C. The group, which includes 25 TTU students, has also been invited to give the opening concert at the International Tuba Euphonium Association conference this spring at Indiana University.
The ensemble has more than 25 recording projects in its 47-year history, and after the April 16 performance, will begin another to be called “Carnegie VIII.”
“Recording is kind of nerve-wracking because if you make a mistake, they start the section over,” Werlein said. “Having a CD of our music is like the Carnegie Hall performance, but a bit different because this is something people can play repeatedly.”
The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. It is free and open to the public. Derryberry Hall is at 1 William L. Jones Drive in Cookeville.