Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Book Toots Horn For Tuba Ensemble

Just in time for its 45th anniversary, a new book by Tennessee Tech University graduates Charles A. McAdams and Richard H. Perry celebrates the storied history of the Tennessee Tech Tuba Ensemble and its founder, R. Winston Morris. The 222-page book, “The Tennessee Tech Tuba Ensemble and R. Winston Morris: A 40th Anniversary Retrospective,” has just been published by Scarecrow Press and is available on Amazon for $70. The idea for the book has it roots in a 40th anniversary reunion of the ensemble, when former ensemble members decided it was time to document the group’s founding, history and extensive recordings.
The Tennessee Tech Tuba Ensemble is one of the most successful performing collegiate ensembles in history, with 25 recording projects, seven Carnegie Hall appearances, two World's Fair performances, numerous national and international conference engagements, and a performance history in venues like Preservation Hall in New Orleans, the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, and the Kennedy Center in Washington.

“The remarkable story of our own R. Winston Morris — from his origins in Barnwell, South Carolina, all the way through his almost 45 years at Tennessee Tech University — is documented by two of his former students,” said Department of Music and Art Director Arthur LaBar. “Even the briefest examination of Winston’s record will reveal that he is, in nearly every way, recognized as the leading figure in the tuba world. His entire professional life has been devoted to increasing the knowledge of the tuba, and to raising the stature of the tuba family of instruments among composers and audiences.

“As for his influence on the literature of the tuba ensemble, Winston is essentially the alpha and the omega,” LaBar said. “The Tennessee Tech Tuba Ensemble and R. Winston Morris: A 40th Anniversary Retrospective” lists all of the group’s performances and more. It tells how Morris founded the ensemble and raised it to international status by establishing and defining the standards for tuba ensemble performance practices.

“Well it took five years of writing, research, editing, formatting, publisher-negotiating, to finally get the job done. At any rate, here it is,” Morris said proudly.  “Charlie and Richard did a masterful and thorough job of putting this project together. Jamie Chavez, tuba-mom of recent tuba graduate and former member of the Synergy Brass Quintet Jesse Chavez worked tirelessly on editing the manuscript from start to finish. Brad Blackman did all the formatting and layout on the book. All of us who have been involved in the TTTE owe Charlie, Richard, Jamie and Brad a huge debt of gratitude.”

Several lists of reference information specific to Morris and the group — and general to tuba and euphonium music — are offered. Details about concerts, performances, activities, and recordings of the ensemble are presented. Former members of the group are listed and shown in more than 85 photographs.  Morris and the TTTE are responsible for the composition and arrangement of more music for the tuba than any other single source, and a comprehensive list of those works is supplied. Authors McAdams and Perry are not only former Morris students, they are accomplished education professionals as well. McAdams is dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Northwest Missouri State University. He is a 1980 graduate of TTU and a former member and arranger for the ensemble. Perry is associate professor of music at the University of Southern Mississippi, where he directs the Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble and performs with the Southern Arts Brass Quintet. He is a 1987 graduate of TTU and a former member and arranger of the TTTE.