I love music.

I write about the music I like and have purchased for the benefit of better understanding it and sharing my preferences with others.

The Stingers

In the 1990s I was an undergraduate at the University of Rochester (NY). As a trombonist, I was recruited to form a trombone ensemble by fellow student Matthew Douglas. As a founding member, I took to arranging music for the ensemble. Our bass trombonist, Orlando Quiroz, also arranged music. We grew to 12 strong our first year. This page from the current Stingers ensemble names me as the founder. It also says I was "the Admiral." In our second year, Douglas left and I did in fact become the unofficial leader of the group, conducting many of my own compositions. You can hear the MIDI version of an arrangement I did of my own piece which I re-titled Sting Me, Baby. Listen to this piece as it was performed by the Stingers in 1996. The most prodigious work for the ensemble was my senior thesis project, a piece in six movements based on Mayan religious ritual for 6 trombones, to be performed in the University's Wilson Commons building. It was called The Mayan Ballcourt: Partita for six trombones. (Find a webcam here to peer inside this "Borg Cube" type structure, a real hallmark of the university, designed by I.M. Pei.) Mayan title The first movement of this work is called Burning of the Itz. The only recording ever made of this first movement is available here. I don't have this first movement in a digital format; it was written out in pencil because of the free-form nature of the piece. Mayan game Above, an except from the fifth movement, "The Game." Below, an except from another big piece I wrote, Fanfare à 12, this from the most popular "98" edition. Fanfare stingers In the fifth section, I spelled out the word "Stingers" in musical notes… you can see the start of that in this screenshot. Among the most popular of my pieces arranged for The Stingers was Entrance, Passage, and Fugue, which was an arrangement of a piece for wind ensemble (performed in concert by the university's own wind ensemble). The piece takes its theme from Bach's Musical Offering, a very difficult and chromatic theme. Recordings were made by Stingers alumnus Mr. Orlando Quiroz. 3stingers Seen above, from L-R, Orlando Quiroz, John Hendron, and Michael Buchler in Wilson Commons, circa 1994. We began a tradition of performing an annual concert, known as the Slide Show. For our last concert in May, 1996, we played one piece outside in Wilson Commons, and finished with the Mayan Ballcourt piece to close the concert (again, outside). The concert took place annually in the May Room. Below, the Stingers playing Also sprach Zarathustra by Strauss. Stingers96 From the program: Stingersmenu For more nostalgia, our first article in the Campus Times: Stingersbig My best memory with the group was coming back to Rochester after graduation, and helping them perform in the lower level of Wilson Commons. They invited me to play with them, conduct some of my own arrangements, and just hang-out with the gang. While at the time the whole concept of a trombone group playing pop music (by mostly non-music majors) seemed downright silly. But we had drive and determination. We weren't the Eastman Trombone Ensemble -- but we still had a lot of fun. One final gem, some of our more popular tunes, including Lassus Trombone with The Saints Go Marching In. And we'd never get this far, either. I mean, my gosh, they have real t-shirts and stuff. One note about the dress you see - in our debut year, Matt and I came up with the idea of wearing turtlenecks. I have no clue why. Steve Jobs had not yet come back to Apple - and I was unaware of his black turtleneck trademark. So, we wore real full-neck turtlenecks, alternating black and white. As you can see above, I was a "white" one. I am not sure that turtlenecks and jeans were the right choice then -- but looking to the present, and my adoration for Steve Jobs, it was interesting to say the least. We later would dress in shirts and ties, and yes, occasionally we'd dress the part for pieces like Brown Eyed Girl, performed in the Welles-Brown Room.

Bach Sinfonias

Two New CDs...