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Trombone Day III: A Review
Michael C. McDonough


Trombone Day III took place at Bantry House in County Cork, Ireland on February 21, 2003, and created feelings of inspiration, hope and excitement. Ireland boasts one of the youngest populations in the European Union and that claim was evident on many of the faces participating in this event. Of course, there were the well-traveled veterans of “Big Bands” and the music from “Back in the Day” was well represented. Alan Raph, of Candlewood Isle, Connecticut, USA along with Anthony Neal of Cork, and Bob Quick of Derry were the major presenters. Each brought their own personality to bear on topics such as warming up, practicing and the history of the jazz trombone.

The group divided into two ensembles and worked up some selections to perform for the evening concert. Along with Irish favorites such as “Danny Boy” and “Brian Baru”, a stirring six-eight march tune with a driving rhythm “Panis Angelicas” and a tune called Bantry Bay were performed. What was most evident in watching and listening to these ensembles perform was inspiration and excitement of so many young players as they “raised the level” of their playing to match the demands of this exciting local music.

There were many soloists accompanied by Alan Raph and Ciara Moroney of Cork on the piano. Local bass player Humphrey Murphy and percussionist Fionn O’Ceallachain completed the rhythm section. Even Ari Perelman 3rd year music major from New York accompanied Alan Raph admirably on the standard “Body and Soul”.

An event such as this requires a lot of behind the scenes work. In addition, Trombone Day III enjoyed the sponsorship of Mr. Egerton Shelswell-White, a fine Bass Trombone player in his own right, Conn-Selmer Inc., Carl Fischer Music Publishers, and Joe Lynch Music of Dublin. Special thanks went to the Family and staff of Bantry House, the West Cork Concert Association and the Connecticut Brass Society.

Such a mixture of backgrounds able to discuss, perform and find common ground created in this writer a sense of hope that the future of trombone playing in Southeast Ireland is bright. Trombone Day IV should prove a very inspiring event not to be missed.


Michael McDonough was trained at the Philadelphia Musical Academy. He studied with Robert Harper, Bass Trombone with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Richard Genevese, and currently lives in Bermuda and continues to play in the brass quartet Brassorks and for the Gilbert & Sullivan Society.

Articles by Michael C. McDonough Other Review Articles