Colin Williams blogspot: Southeast Trombone Symposium & new 'Legacy' recording

The Southeast Trombone Symposium is an incredible event that we're always thrilled to be a part of.  We're so excited help announce the release of a new recording featuring S.E. Shires Artists entitled ‘Legacy.’  This vibrant recording features a collaboration of S.E. Shires Artists from the New York Philharmonic, Atlanta Symphony orchestra, and major University trombone professors who together form the faculty of the Southeast Trombone Symposium, a symposium in its 12th year focused on providing world class instruction and experiences to students and professional musicians alike. 

The STS team stepped it up this year and just released one of the best recordings that we've ever had the pleasure of listening to.  To chat a bit more about the project, here's Colin Williams with a guest blog spot!

"The Southeast Trombone Symposium began in 2010. The idea to even have a symposium in Columbus, Georgia, came from the fact that we were really proud of the work we were doing in the Atlanta Symphony and wanted to share it. Brad Palmer had already created a studio at Columbus State University that was getting better and more exciting every year. With his performance and pedagogical skills and our desire to have an outlet to perform and teach, we decided to try to create a week-long experience that would be a place for students and teachers alike to come and share their ideas and experiences. We hoped that it would become a time where we would all endeavor to raise the level of trombone craft not only for ourselves, but for the community as a whole.

We started small. The first class was nineteen people. George, Bill, Brad, and I made a point to be as accessible and honest with the students that we couple possibly be. It was important for them to hear what we were thinking about, what our lives as musicians were like, and what it took to get to where we were. I always tried to be honest about what my strengths and weaknesses were, how I addressed them, and how I tried to make the best music possible. The symposium has been a journey for me since 2010 was the year that I suffered a severe muscle injury in my embouchure. I didn't perform at all that first year, but I did play my first notes in eight months there. At the time I didn't know if I would ever be able to play at my pre-injury level again. This was a hard thing to have to talk about with students! But I was determined to let them benefit from my experience, even if that meant showing them what not to do!!

Since then, the Symposium has grown. A lot! I now that all of us feel that we have grown as artists as well. In many ways, the growth of the symposium paralleled our own artistic growth. George Curran went on to win the bass trombone job in the New York Philharmonic. Bill Thomas went to the Tonhalle orchestra in Zurich. Brad Palmer's studio continues to grow in size and stature, and he now serves on the Executive Board of the International Trombone Association helping to support the entire trombone community. I learned to play the trombone again. Through it all we tried to foster a sense of friendship and collegiality with everyone who came to the festival. Through this idea, the professor's choir was created. Now, every year, a few dozen performers and pedagogues from colleges around the country come to share ideas and perform in a mass trombone choir. It's been a great experience that culminated in a CD project. Our first Symposium album “Legacy” was released this year. It represents not only the high level of playing, but the exceptional spirit of collegiality and collaboration that exists at the STS. 

As the STS continues to grow, we have added more and more top professionals to our roster of players. Nathan Zgonc from the Atlanta Symphony has joined us as a regular faculty member. Every year we invite a special guest to teach with us for the week. Paul Pollard, Craig Mulcahy, James Nova, Brian Hecht, and now James Markey and Jeremy Moeller have all brought their unique talents to the Symposium. Other great players and teachers (far too many to name) join us each year. As we prepare to welcome around 100 people to the STS this summer, I am excited to be challenged and to challenge others to learn. It's been an incredible journey so far, and I can't wait to see where the STS will take us next."

-Colin Williams

Be sure to check out the STS website here or purchase your own copy of 'Legacy' here!  This year's symposium will be held at Columbus State University from June 22-June 27.  You can still participate at this year's Symposium as an auditor!!!  This will be a particularly special year for auditors because the CSU Trombone Ensemble will be in residence at STS leading (and playing with) the Auditor Choir.  So not only will auditors have an opportunity to experience the entire STS for only $200, they will also have the opportunity to play alongside the CSU students and other auditors.  

S.E. Shires partners with this incredible event by sponsoring the S.E. Shires Solo and Orchestral Excerpt competitions.  The winner of each competition receives a new custom S.E.  Shires trombone.  There are opportunities at the symposium for high school through college students, amateurs, and professional players.  

Stay tuned for more information about the STS as we get closer to this year's symposium!