An All-star concert at the Monette shop starts out the new year -
and great players with new Prana C and Bb trumpes rattled the walls!
By Mike Thompson
Last December I received a call from Dave Monette to see how I was doing with my new Prana 1 C Trumpet (SN 2090). As I was expressing my delight with this new horn Dave mentioned that he was building new Prana trumpets for Urban and Joakim Agnas from Stockholm, and they were planning to come to Portland in January to take delivery of their new instruments. He also said they were planning to play a short, private recital for the shop employees...
I had the pleasure of being in attendance at the Monette 2000 Brass Clinic and heard Urban in action at that time, so when Dave said there would be another concert I couldn't grab my calendar fast enough. Lucky for me there was an open weekend so I got on the computer and purchased my plane ticket. When I called Dave to tell him I was coming for sure he said Charlie and Martha Schlueter were also coming and he had invited Ron Miles to join the show too. I told Pablo Masis (my store manager at Thompson Music) Get a ticket! - there's is going to be a party at Monette! And party is was.
Pablo and I arrived at the shop on Thursday. The Monette guys gave Pablo a tour of the shop and we both enjoyed seeing the new CNC milling machine in action. The Monette shop is very high tech these days. We also enjoyed watching Urban and Joakim play test the newest Prana C and Bb trumpets as well as the latest designs in mouthpieces. When I say latest in mouthpiece design, I am talking about designs that are minutes old. With the technology they have at their disposal, Dave can tweak a given mouthpiece design in a matter minutes and just like clicking the print button, a mouthpiece is cut-out and ready to be adjusted and played. Amazing!
Friday was set aside for rehearsing and setting up the shop for the concert. Patrick Hession flew in on Friday. It was great to see him again and watch him play notes that only my dogs can hear. Dave asked Charlie, Dave Bamonte, Jeff Work and I to do an orchestral demo on the concert. Charlie suggested the finale chorale from Mahler Symphony #3. Let me tell you, those guys play so well in tune that they have their own gravitational force!
Saturday was a quiet morning. Pablo and I took a long walk around the industrial park in search of food. After a big breakfast we walked to the shop just as Ron Miles arrived from Denver. Just about the same time Adam Rapa drove in from Seattle. Now the shop was buzzing with activity. Performers warming up, sound levels checked, band gear setup and of course food delivery. Concert time was here. Dave made a few brief announcements and then the music flowed.
The program was great because there was such a wide variety music. Charlie, Jeff Work (new principal trumpet of the Oregon Symphony and long-time Monette client) and Dave Bamonte opened with the Britten 3 Fanfare for St. Edmundsbury. Patrick Hession demonstrated all the notes on a Monette trumpet from low F# to - as Jeff Work said - "notes I’ll never be able to play."
Next was an unaccompanied piece by Norman Bolter, performed by Charlie Schlueter. I had heard that Charlie had retired. I guess they forgot to tell Charlie. He sounds incredible! Following Charlie’s performance was the Agnas brothers high-wire trumpet act. You have to love these guys. They play such beautiful and interesting music and the best unison playing that could ever experience. What a treat!
After intermission Ron Miles took the stage with the Gary Hobbs trio. Ron played his Monette Prana cornet. When I hear a great jazz musician I always try to pick out the players that have influenced their playing. With Ron I hear all original stuff. He is his own influence.
The last tune of the night Ron invited Adam Rapa to sit in. Adam has his first Monette trumpet on order and is excited to get it. They decided to change the pace a little and get down and dirty. Adam makes the trumpet look easy to play and his energetic personality is expressed in his performance. The audience was very appreciative of everyone's efforts and it was nice to meet many new faces after the concert.
The thing that I enjoy the most about one of Dave’s events is that it is like a family reunion (without any of the cousins that I can't stand). Of course it is centered round the trumpet and great music but there is so much more: Great food, conversation with friends, funny stories, (no conductors allowed), silly trumpet tricks and impressions (if you haven't hung out with Jeff Work from the Oregon Symphony you are missing out) and most of all the feeling that everyone there is equal and important. Thanks to Dave for allowing me to be a part of this event.
- Mike Thompson