I’ve played trombone since I was about eleven years old. Picking up the instrument seemed natural to me. My father played trombone when he was younger and always had an old musty instrument in the basement that, when I was a kid, I’d sometimes take out and attempt to make what I thought resembled music on it, although not very successfully. I’ve been lucky enough to play in some great ensembles in my life, including four years in the Spartan Marching Band at Michigan State. After graduating I’ve still pursued my desire to play, and continued to performing in a community ensemble in Flint.
When I moved to Dublin, one of the first things that I wanted to do was find an ensemble in the community to continue making music with. I didn’t want to skip an entire year of playing with passionate musicians, and Ireland is a nation with no shortage of passionate artists, whether they be musicians, painters, or most famously, writers. After a few weeks searching through brass bands, wind symphonies, and symphonic orchestras, I reached out to the Dublin Orchestral Players to see if they were in need of a trombonist. To my luck they were, and I began attending rehearsals in the fall.
After attending weekly rehearsals every Tuesday evening, our first concert was on a gorgeous night in early December at Kings Inns on the north side of Dublin. While the concert included the obligatory Christmas carol medley, it also included a gorgeous Haydn oboe concerto and a beautiful Mozart symphony. The talent of my fellow musicians was overwhelming and getting to perform in such a beautiful space made for an emotionally fulfilling evening that I’ll remember for some time.
Following this concert and a break for the holidays, we began rehearsing again for our spring concert. Unlike the first concert, this one included trombone parts in every piece, including a fairly challenging part in the famous William Tell Overture. The overture was accompanied by a beautiful cello concerto by Elgar, with a guest cellist who was breathtaking, and the famous Requiem by Fauré where we partnered with a local area choir to round out the piece. To top it all off, the concert was held in Christ Church Cathedral, one of the most breathtaking churches in all of Ireland. I’ve been fortunate enough to have fellow Mitchell Scholars attend each performance with their sincere and encouraging, if sometimes embarrassing, vocal support.
I’ve been lucky throughout my performances to be welcomed by the friendliest of people, fellow musicians in Ireland. The Irish are well-known as a kind and welcoming people, and in my time with the Dublin Orchestral Players I have found them to be nothing but eager to accept me into their group and make me feel a part of the ensemble, an ensemble which includes players who have been members for decades. It has been the chance to get to know fellow musicians here that has been the most rewarding part of playing with the DOP. While the music has been enjoyable, and the venues breathtaking, the kindness of the Irish people stands out as the most memorable part of playing with this ensemble. I count myself lucky to have been welcomed into the group with such open arms and can’t wait to make more music across Dublin.