BONESTRONG: A weekend of Trombone infused music

Categories: News

A group of larks is called an Exhilaration. A group of crows is a Murder. So what about a grouping of that rare creature: the Professional Trombone Artist?

According to Roger McConnell, trombonist, director of America’s Hometown Band, and BSU Music Professor – that group is called a “Treasure of Trombonists”. And they are gathering at Ball State on the weekend of Oct. 29-30, 2016, to take part in trombone camaraderie events prompted by a hometown return visit by professional Bass Trombonist Ralph Pressler, a Burris High School and BSU graduate. The very personable BSU alum Pressler is a semi retired professional jazz artist who has enjoyed a long and colorful career in the Las Vegas show biz world, playing in bands to accompany many of the biggest talents in entertainment anywhere.


This weekend of trombone events is a reunion of sorts, for several Ball State-cultivated career trombonists – band and orchestra members, music directors, composer/arrangers, jazz specialists – who shared their BSU musical training with either fellow student Ralph, or with Ralph’s father and BSU trombone instructor of many years, Bernard ‘Benny’ Pressler, or are just fans of both Presslers’ trombone talents.


Some of the other expected trombonist attendees besides McConnell and Pressler are: Tom Gustin, Director of Music, Peru, In; Andy Mitchell, Professor of Trombone, BSU; Mike Palmer, Professor of Music, BSU; Freddie Mendoza, Professor of Music, BSU; Will Frazier, Director of Music, Lawrence Township, Indianapolis; David Shank, Trombonist, Nashville, In; Erick Vannatter, Trombonist, Anderson, In; Max Millspaugh, retired Director of Music, Muncie schools.

On Saturday, the 29th

Any musician, aspiring musician, trombonist, or just interested listener can attend Pressler’s Master’s Clinic talk at 3:15 – 5 pm in Rm. AC 114 of the Emens building (entry at East door). His topic is “Playing the Trombone & the Business of Music”.


Later that Saturday evening, Pressler and other trombonists can be found at Vera Mae’s Bistro in downtown Muncie (time?) as they perform some Las Vegas style trombone jazz with the Phil Cooley combo. Call the restaurant at 747- 4941 for reservation details.

Next day, Sunday the 30th

A specially assembled Trombone Weekend Choir, including Pressler and his colleagues, is making a special appearance at College Avenue Methodist Church in Muncie (time?? second service). It is a musical tribute honoring the Pressler family’s prior years of involvement with this church.


And at Pruis Hall at 5:30 pm Sunday, you do want to be in your seat to relish the AHB concert, ‘The Spirit of the Trombone’. Pressler, his bass trombone, and honorary members of his jazz septet “The Boneheads”, are the featured performers with the mighty Jazz Band musicians from America’s Hometown Band. The AHB jazz band is under the direction of Will Frazier and Phil Cooley.


‘The Spirit of the Trombone’ concert at 5:30 Sunday evening at Pruis Hall is free, with free parking nearby in the both the Sursa & Emens parking structures. This concert is sponsored in part by the Office of the President of Ball State University, and the City of Muncie.


Free will donations are appreciated and can be offered at any of the weekend events, and proceeds go to the Bernard Pressler Trombone Scholarship fund at Ball State University.

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