FB: Well hello out Berklee commuity, this Fred Boushard once again with another one of our oral history project interviews. And as they say, all things in good time. And this good thing has taken a long time to come together. Tom Everett and I have been talking about getting together in this form for, oh, at least a year. But, here we are finally February 20th, 2009. Tom Everett, welcome aboard.
TE: Well thank you, glad we were finally able to put it together.
FB: Tom is a distiguished, uh, educator, trombonist, band leader. In several, several iterations of that band, and a composer and a comissioner of works, uh, for bass trombone, and an outstanding member of the greater Boston music community. Great to have you here.
TE: Thank you.
FB: um..., why do they call the trombone "God's instrument"?
TE: Because it is God's instrument, that is why. Umm..uhh I think one reason, it has the potential to play with a very noble sound. And you put a trombone choir, three trombones together playing you know, chords uh... its a majestic sound and often, we find particularly in the Romantic era, the trombone in the orchestra left to play at the very end of the symphony to give it very dramatic, uh, climactic or conclusion, uh, to the statements that have preceded. There is a story about about, um, in Bethlaham the Moravians made use of the trombone in their church services. They would have trombones from the smallest; the soprano, alto, tenor and bass. They'd use these instruments in their church service. And I guess, umm..., one Sunday, uh, they were attacked, well, Indians were going to attack Bethlaham. And this service was going on and they heard these trombones, and they thought it was the voice of some kind of spirit and it scared them away and they did not attack. And, how true that is I don't know, but there's an example of God's trombones.
FB: There's also something very primevil and primitive about the trombone.
FB: I mean you go look at the aboriginal digoridoos and other kinds of , you know, bass vocal instruments like that, that come from other cultures. Its got a long, long history.
TE: Sure. And more than, um... any other wind instrument has changed the least. If we look at a 15th century sackbut or booseen or some early ancester of the trombone. The basic sound production is made by the lips buzzing, air going through the lips, and pitches adjusted through the lips, and make the instrument longer and shorter, and thats the same basic principle. It has a lot of bells and whistles now you can add to it, but thats still the basic way is umm , played where flute clarinet have gone through different fingering systems over time, different lengths, different pitches, and the trombone, umm, the size has gotten generally bigger, but its basically the same.
FB: Has it always been concert C?
TE: This is an interesting phenominon. It's a Bb Instrument, but its a non-transposing instrument. So, the fundimental of the trombone is a Bb. You ask for a concert Bb, the trombonist thinks of a Bb and you hear a Bb. That pedal tone is very useful on the trombone. Sometimes pedal tones are the fundimentals dont't work very well, don't sound very well, but on the trombone its very rich and senorus.