Ouachita Baptist University student Bret Steed, a junior music performance major from Idabel, Okla., was named one of three finalists in the 3rd annual Texas State Trombone Symposium, a national competition hosted by Texas State University.
Trombonists from all over the country ages 18-26 submitted recordings of themselves performing three blues, jazz and swing tunes. Out of hundreds of submissions, only three were chosen as finalists, including Steed.
Jerrick Matthews, a graduate student from Michigan State University and the eventual winner of the competition, and Kyle Johnson, a graduate student from Texas State University, also were chosen as finalists.
“I think it shows that he’s performing at a high level if he’s in the finals with graduate students as an undergraduate,” said Dr. Justin Isenhour, assistant professor of music and Steed’s applied trombone instructor. Dr. Sim Flora, adjunct special studies professor, is Steed’s independent trombone study instructor.
Steed worked with the OBU Jazz Combo to make his initial recordings, but had only 20 minutes before his performance at Texas State to rehearse with the university’s rhythm section. His repertoire for the final round of the competition included “If I Only Had a Brain” by Harold Arlen, “Now’s the Time” by Charlie Parker and “All of Me” by Gerald Marks and Seymour Simons.
“Probably the highlight of the trip is that I got to meet the man that makes my trombones,” Steed said. Michael Rath, owner of Michael Rath Trombones, was at the symposium taking feedback from musicians like Steed who exclusively use Rath trombones. Other notable artists who attended the symposium included Dr. Don Lucas, an internationally recognized trombone artist and educator, and Dr. Mitch Butler, a jazz trombonist and educator who graduated from the University of Texas.
“It was just a really great experience, a very good learning experience for me,” Steed said. As a finalist this year, Steed said he plans to compete again next year in hopes of winning first place.
For more information, contact Dr. Justin Isenhour at firstname.lastname@example.org or (870) 245-5144.
By Rachel Gregory