May 16, 2007

Banda Music - GREAT Music for Tuba!

Perhaps some of you are already familiar with the Mexican Banda Music,  but I suspect that many of you are not.  Banda is a traditional Brass-based music from Mexico which has enjoyed increased popularity since the mid-90s. 

Of particular interest to us is the dominance of tuba (or more correctly, sousaphone) as the very active bass line.  Among the best known bands in this genre are Banda el Recodo and El Coyote.

Chuy_chavez_bandaToday on a trip to Postville, Iowa – a community which has witnessed a rapid increase of population from vastly diverse communities ranging from Hassidic Jews to Guatamalan and Mexican – I found a really interesting and entertaining new CD from Chuy Chavez.  This is a really fabulous example of the Banda style and features some outstanding tuba playing.

Make an opportunity to experience this music!  It is vibrant, lively and full of ‘spice’.  As a tubist, it shows the real possibilities for the instrument to enter the more popular genres AND display incredible virtuosity.

You really should CHECK THIS OUT!

Jeff Funderburk

May 10, 2007

Great Practice Aide!

Some weeks back at the Iowa Tuba and Euphonium Conference, I picked up a book of warm-up exercises which caught my eye because it included a cd with Gene Pokorny performing the exercises.  The book is simply entitled, “20 Minute Warm-up Routine” and is by Michael Davis.

Warnup bookThere are 15 excercises in the book that take a variety of approaches to covering the overall range of the horn with a variety of articulations.  These exercises are challenging and give one a very extensive warm-up if all are played through without break for the 20 minutes that they take.

What sets these exercises apart from other warm-up routines is the inclusion of the CD.  The CD contains synthesizer based accompaniments for each of the exercises which help one keep time as well as work on pitch while performing.  The CD contains 30 tracks.  Tracks 1–15 have the accompaniment as well as having Gene Pokorny playing the exercises.  Tracks 16–30 offer the accompaniment without the tuba part.

For those looking for a way to keep on top of the horn through the summer, I highly recommend looking at this set of excercises.  Warming up with Gene each day isn’t the worst thing you could do!

Jeff Funderburk

UNITUBA Spring Grill Out!


Rapping up the school year, we had a fun afternoon in a local park.  Thursday afternoon (May 3) after exams were done, it was time for brats!CIMG0890

It was a busy semester for everyone in the studio, so a little down time was really needed. 






We say goodbye to one UNITUBA member as senior euphoniumist Keya John graduates and heads back east to the DC area. 
Keya has been a great member of the studio and will be missed by all!P3260172

  Following the eating, the guys just couldn’t resist the playground.  Amazingly, everything is still standing!CIMG0880







April 26, 2007

Perantoni with former Students

One of the great treats of attending conferences is catching up with friends.  In Memphis, Dan Perantoni was there with a number of former students including myself as well as John Mueller (U of Memphis), Jerry Young (UW Eau Claire), Mickey Moore (U of Il), and Jeff Rideout (Custom Music).

P and students(Funderburk, Perantoni, Moore, Young, Rideout)

And by the way…..Mr. P sounded absolutely amazing on his Saturday afternoon recital!!!

j funderburk

April 22, 2007

Memphis BBQ!!

(Ed Owen, Ark State & Charles Schultz, U Memphis)


John Mueller and the University of Memphis (with the help of UNI alumn Anthony Williams) are putting on a Regional Tuba Euphonium Conference that has events more in keeping with the quality and excitment of an International Conference.  Jens vs Ed2                (Jens Bjorn-Larsen, Hannover, Ed Owen….don’t ask!)

(Dan Perantoni, Indiana U and Jens)

Jens_mrp2The performances have been outstanding and the audience is excellent.  This afternoon’s recital with Brian Bowman, euphonium and Dan Perantoni, tuba was truely a memorable event.

Question… much BBQ does one have to have in order to feed a hundred or so hungry tuba/euphonium players and still have some left?  Start with 70 pounds of pulled pork, about 10 gallons of slaw and an equal portion of beans.  UM GOOD!!  GREAT eats and a host of tuba/euphonium ensembles playing for the dinner hour.Mickey                                               (Mickey Moore, U Ill)

(Jerry Young, UW Eau Claire; Brian Bowman, North Texas and Jens)

Then, off to Beale Street. The U Memphis Jazz 1 warmed up Alfred’s club with soloist Mike Fahn.  Then a little break and the MJT Project really fired up the crowd.Beale_street2

This is a really special event.  If you’re not here, you’re really mising something!!!

This morning, I judged the mock tuba audition with Mickey Moore (U Ill) and Charles Schultz (U Memphis).  In the afternoon,  I conducted a reading session of composer/arranger Ken Friedrich’s music with the composer looking on….of course, I did not see the scores at all before the session.  Tommorow, since Dan Perantioni must leave early, I will be covering his masterclass before catching a 3pm flight back to Cedar Rapids….with luck should be back in CR by 10 and back to Cedar Falls by midnight…..

jeff funderburk

April 20, 2007

Chicago O’hare 7am Last night


Chicago O’hare 7am

Last night was the last UNITUBA concert of the year.  Thanks to the help of Keith Kennedy and the UNI Production House, the concert was available as a Live Webcast.  Perhaps you may have seen it.  I heard from a couple of people immediately saying that they had seen/heard the concert and enjoyed the production.

I have colleagues who ‘poo-poo’ the web quality for sound and video.  I’m no fan of mp3 quality recordings myself.  That said, this offers a great opportunity for musicians to reach audiences that they would not reach any other way….might even lead to more folks coming to hear the live concerts.  I can say that I was happy to learn that my mother had seen the concert…..thGroup float tapere first of mine she has seen since 1985…in Pensacola, Florida.  My new graduate student for next year was able to see the ensemble and get an idea of what he will be doing… 

I really have to thank Keith for all the extra effort he has put in to make both of the UNITUBA WebCasts possible this year.  With a little luck, this will become a regular offering of our ensemble.  Also, special thanks to Tom Barry who always does a superb job handling all aspects of recording and sound reinforcement.  His extra effort for these webcast events makes a tremendous difference by offering professional quality sound ready for use by the web ‘techies’!

Well, so after a good 2 hours sleep, it was off to Cedar Rapids Airport at 3:30 am this morning.  I’m currently in route to Memphis Tennessee for the Mid-South Tuba Euphonium Conference hosted by Dr. John Mueller at the University of Memphis.  With a little luck, I should be there by 10 am with time to make sure the technology in the room will work for my afternoon presentation on Instrument Construction, Repair and Maintenance.

I know this will be a great time and I look forward to seeing many old friends….starting with Brian Bowman who I understand I will be meeting up with at the airport.  It will be great….but a couple more hours of sleep would be REAL NICE!

Jeff Funderburk

April 14, 2007

T minus 2 Weeks!

Well, the semester here continues to grind toward exams.  We have 2 weeks left before exams and what seems to be about a month worth of work to cram into that time-frame!CIMG0558

Last week, the Northern Brass Quintet concert went well.  Poor weather and an Artist Series concert conflict significantly reduced the audience, but those in attendance seemed appreciative.  It was good to have the group together again!


On Thursday April 19, UNITUBA will have its final concert of the school year.  The concert Circle1is at 8pm Central time.  This concert will be our second Live Web Cast and can be accessed at concert time at the following link:





I got a nice surprise of an email this week from a former student, Kenson Choi, who is now a member of the band at Disneyland in Hong Kong.  Nice Photo! 

Kenson received a Master of Arts degree from UNI.Kenson Disney 

Next weekend will be the Mid-South Regional Tuba and Euphonium conference hosted at the University of Memphis and my good friend Dr. John Mueller.  I look forward to taking part in this, though I dread the very early morning travel time to get me Brass construction 030there in time!  I will be chairing the Mock Tuba Orchestra Audition Jury and also presenting a clinic on Tuba/Euphonium Construction, Maintenance and Repair.  Got a great Powerpoint for this one that perhaps will find its way to the website before long!


Jeffrey Funderburk