In March of 2018, I auditioned for The National Collegiate Solo Competition hosted by The United States Army Band "Pershing's Own." With a few hundred applicants every year, I was honored to be chosen as the NCSC winner and was given the special opportunity to perform as a featured soloist with the Pershing's Own. The Army flew me out to Washington D.C. last week to rehearse with the band and perform Emmanuel Sejourne's Concerto for Marimba at their outdoor concert in front of the United States Capitol Building. It was an absolute privilege and honor to share the stage with such remarkable musicians and it's an experience I won't soon forget.
Rehearsals and New Custom Mallets!
I arrived in Washington D.C. on Monday, June 4th. I was picked up from the airport and driven to my hotel, which was right across the street from the Pentagon! We began rehearsals on Tuesday morning, where I had the chance to meet with Colonel Andrew J. Esch, Leader and Commander of Pershing's Own. We discussed my interpretation of the piece, tempi, phrasing, etc.
The instrument on which I performed was a beautiful 5.0 octave marimba crafted by Doug DeMorrow, similar to one we have here at the University of Georgia. Mike Balter, who has been an invaluable supporter and advocate of Lineage Percussion, was kind enough to help design a custom set of Tony Miceli mallets on short birch shafts specifically for my performance in D.C!
Recorded Dress Rehearsal
With the first two "Sunsets with a Soundtrack" performances of 2018 cancelled due to inclement weather, the fear of rain for Friday's performance was legitimate. The weather forecasts went back and forth, predicting heavy rain to no rain at all. However, in the end, we could not have asked for better weather! The day of the concert was absolutely gorgeous. The clouds provided just enough shade to prevent it from being too hot, and not a single drop fell from the sky during the concert!! Of course, within one hour of the concert concluding, it began pouring: thunder, lightning, and all!
It was surreal, performing as the sun was setting, in front of the glowing backdrop of the United States Capitol Building, looking out across the National Mall at the Washington Monument in the distance. I will always remember that moment.
After the performance, the Colonel presented me with a certificate recognizing the achievement and the US Army Band's challenge coin. I am definitely indebted to SFC Chris Branagan, too, for capturing some great photographs during the soundcheck and performance!! Check them out below!
Free Time in D.C.
With rehearsals in the mornings, most of my afternoons and evenings were free for practice at the band hall and for time exploring D.C. Even though I've visited the city many times in the past, I always have fun revisiting many of the museums and monuments. I reconnected with some close friends in the area, including Lauren (from my percussion trio) and Ben (my friend from Kindergarten...check out the side-by-side photos below comparing us now to a photo we took together 9 years ago!)
A Few Thank You's...
None of this would have been possible without SFC Tim Sutfin and his thorough and detailed organization of the entire National Collegiate Solo Competition. Even while abroad during the first part of my visit in D.C., he still managed to make sure everything ran smoothly! A big thank you to SSG Matt Evans for picking me up from the airport, introducing me to members of the band, ad driving me around for several days. It was great chatting with you and getting to know you! Thanks, SFC Leigh LaFosse, for first creating this special competition several years ago and for driving me around a bit. Thanks to SFC Chris Branagan and the rest of the video/audio team for the beautifully composed photographs and videos! And a thank you to Ms. Jennifer Maley and the entire support staff that helped with advertising the performance and to the crew that helped with the logistics of transporting the marimba, etc!
Thank you to Colonel Andrew Esch for his leadership, kindness, and hospitality this week and for ensuring rehearsals of the marimba concerto were comfortable and productive!
And, of course, a huge thank you to each of the members of the percussion section: MSG Harold Summey, MSG Mario Ramsey, SFC Julie Boehler, SFC Larry Ferguson, SSG Kris Keeton, and SSG Tim Perry. All six of you made me feel so welcomed this past week and it was such a pleasure to share the stage briefly with each of you. It was great spending time with all of you a bit outside of rehearsal and I appreciated all the conversations! Thanks for inspiring me.
The list goes on, and I'm sure I'm omitting some more important names...but the truth is that I owe a lot to every member of "Pershing's Own" for making me feel so welcomed and appreciated during my time in D.C. So many musicians approached me before and after rehearsals to introduce themselves and talk for a bit. I am so thankful for this entire experience; it was truly special.
Summer Plans / My Upcoming Recital
Next week I will be participating in the 36th Annual Cloyd Duff Timpani Class here at the University of Georgia. Co-taught by Mr. Adams and Mr. Jim Atwood (timpanist of the Louisiana Philharmonic), it should be a fun week filled with everything timpani!
For the rest of my summer break, I plan to stay here in Athens, practicing and preparing the repertoire for my Master's Recital. Please save the date of August 31st at 3:30PM EST. For those of you that cannot travel to Athens, GA to attend, I will try to find a way to livestream the event online! I hope to see you there!
SAVE THE DATE:
Trevor Barroero: Master of Music Recital
Friday, August 31, 2018 at 3:00PM
Ramsey Concert Hall | UGA Performing Arts Center