How long have you been playing with the MSO?
Well I was trying to figure that out myself. I think it’s been 16 years, around that area.
What made you decide pursue playing professionally?
I don’t even know. The real answer is, when I was in college my degree was in music education. But as I got better as a trumpet player I sort of got hooked on it – it’s sort of like an addiction. I just enjoy playing and after I graduated one of the positions that I currently hold came open and I’ve been playing ever since. I just like playing. That’s pretty much it.
What other symphonies do you work with?
Yep, I’m full time at the Marion Philharmonic and I have played with Anderson Symphony and the Kokomo Symphony, just as a substitute, but Marion’s full time.
What do you do professionally besides play in the MSO?
I’m a farmer. Corn and soybeans. Madison County, Grant Country, Wabash County – it’s a family farm.
Are you a Muncie native?
I’m actually from Marion.
Did you grow up attending MSO performances?
The funny thing is the Muncie Symphony was the very first live orchestra I ever heard in my life. I’m kind of a naïve old country boy, you know. I didn’t grow up listening to classical music or anything. I got started on band is school and I just always liked playing trumpet but never thought much about it because, like I say I was coming to Ball State to be a music teacher, to be a band director, and I was naïve to all the different things and all the different styles. I mean I knew about jazz band and I knew about orchestras but I just wasn’t exposed to them as far as everything there is about orchestra. And that one [MSO] was the first one I ever heard and that was in college.
You play trumpet– what is your favorite thing about your instrument? Of all the instruments you can play/could have played, why trumpet and why stick with it?
Well the reason I played, because, like I say, I’m a naïve country boy we didn’t have a lot of money. I was the youngest of three kids. My two older brothers started on trumpet, so we had a trumpet and that’s what you played, I didn’t have a choice. But I guess what I liked about the trumpet was it’s versatility. I do a lot of church stuff and you can play a lot of sweet, tender things on the trumpet or you can play real loud, bombastic, aggressive stuff like in some of the orchestra pieces or in jazz band. And there’s so many genres you can play a trumpet in. There’s just so much you can do. I guess that’s what I learned to like about it. It’s just capable of so many things.
Do you have a favorite genre to play in?
I’d say orchestral is what I do the most but my favorite is brass quintet, which is a chamber group.
Do you play any other instruments?
Nope, trumpet and radio, that’s about it.
What is your favorite thing about being a member of the MSO?
Really, when I started what I liked the most was playing with all the professors, like the brass faculty and stuff. And I still do, but some of them have retired. You meet people along the way and I’ve made a lot of good relationships and friendships and stuff. I just like coming down and getting to play in Emens or in Sousa. They’re great halls to play in.
Do you have a favorite event in the MSO season?
Not really. I like them all. I’m trying to think. I do enjoy the outdoor ones. Festival on the Green and we play one at Minnetrista. When the weather cooperates, you know, they can be kind of relaxing. The music’s relaxing too, it’s not over the top.
Do you have a favorite performance from your time with the MSO?
Well, I was thinking about that. There’s a bunch of them. I did like Verdi Requiem we did many years ago, which was huge. I like it when there’s the big orchestra and they bring the choirs in and there’s a bunch of people on the stage.
Do you have a “bucket list” piece, something you have always wanted to perform?
Pictures at an Exhibition by Mussorgsky.
Do you have any hobbies outside of music?
Yeah. I mess around with woodworking and carpentry.
Are you involved with any other community organizations?
I’m on the elder board at my church in Marion and a member of Eastbrook Young Farmers, which is my old high school. Basically in that school district we raise money for scholarships for kids going into agriculture.
Fun fact about yourself/trivia?
People are usually surprise I’m a farmer. I leave the tractor to go put on my tux, which is not you know, normal, but there are a few of us out there. The other day, this was cracking a few people up. I was practicing my trumpet in the tractor. With the technology today’s tractors have GPS satellites in them and once I get it started I turn around, hit a button and the tractor starts driving itself. So my hands are free, and I’m sitting there and I had a big performance – this was a few weeks ago- so I just wanted to see if it would work so I brought my music and I was practicing up there. My wife didn’t believe me.
Why should people attend Festival on the Green?
Well for one it’s a beautiful place to see a concert. I really enjoy the setting. It’s early evening, the music’s relaxing, people bring picnics. It’s just a fun, relaxing evening. I can’t think of any other reason than that. It’s not stuffy, we get to talk with people, you don’t have to be quiet. Kid can come and enjoy it. It’s good exposure for them. Sometimes the indoor concerts are a little over their heads or too stuffy. It’s just a good place to see a concert, assuming the weather holds.