A Few Thoughts On Mr. Mead

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Kenneth D. Friedrich, May 1, 2005.

  1. On the campus of Central Arkansas University in the U.S., I had the distinct pleasure of three days of exposure to one of the top brass showmen on this planet. Steve Mead is a true professional, both on and off the stage. His personality is both engaging and contagious. While we discussed the quartet competition, I felt my respect for him genuinely returned and it was amazing how much we had agreed on as far as what we liked and disliked.

    His rapport with the students at the masterclass and the lobby was a sight to watch. Talent-level notwithstanding, Mr. Mead treated each one with fairness intermixed with some good-natured humor. When not practicing, he was very visible, offering answers to queries, as well as signing autographs (one on a student's euph case!).

    Mr. Mead listened to quite a few of my pieces at my table, among which was Charley Brighton's performance of the Ballade, which he quite liked. I enjoyed watching him try out the various instruments in the vendor area, including a double-bell euph and Sam Gagney's cimbasso (I think most everyone got a crack at that horn!).

    Finally, the final concert was nothing short of spectacular. After great performances by both the High School All-Star tuba-euphonium ensemble and Symphonia, Mr. Mead performed Gypsy Airs with the UCA Wind Symphony, a trombone concerto by one of his teachers accompanied by piano, and Philip Spark's Pantomime with the wind symphony. For the encore, joined by Brian Bowman and conducted by the conference director Louis Young and the wind symphony, Mr. Mead showed his humor and showmanship once more with a back and forth exchange of mastery with Dr. Bowman to the sheer wonder and delight of all who had the good fortune of being in attendance.

    Of course the only negative I would say is that attendance was very light - - maybe due to the time of year with finals and juries looming ever so close. With the literal who's who of the tuba euph world in attendance there, one thinks the positives of attending this conference would have far outweighed the possible consequences. Anyway, I doff my cap to Dr. Young for bring so much talent and legend to a small school in central Arkansas.

    Ken Friedrich