Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Cornet

I remember years ago walking into our living room on Christmas morning to find, still to this day, the most beautiful Christmas present I have ever seen. Sitting on the red velvet of it's opened case was a silver plated shepherds crook cornet. I have never seen anything put off such a glow. I had seen my Dad's silver trumpets but my new cornet sparkled in a somewhat different way to my eyes. It was mine. Later that following spring with my Christmas cornet, I played my first public performance for the 6th grade talent show at C.B. Berry elementary school in east Arlington. In the years that followed I would play my little Christmas cornet with pride in many bands and even at youth orchestra where all of my much older trumpet section mates told me, "You really should be playing a trumpet not a cornet in orchestra." Someone really should tell Berlioz.

So if I can recommend anything for a Christmas present it has to be a horn, trumpet or cornet. A trumpet makes a wonderful gift. And you need not spend very much at all to get a "pro" level instrument.

Those of you who have been paying attention may have noticed that I changed trumpets a few months back. And if you are really observant you may have also noticed that a few months before I changed trumpets I changed mouthpieces. Well to be more exact, the outside of my mouthpiece changed. The inside is the same copy of an old Mount Vernon Bach 3C with a 24 backbore I have played for the last year or so. The outside was made to look like an Al Cass mouthpiece. I wanted a mouthpiece that didn't look like everyone else and I love the look of the old Al Cass's. So I had the mouthpiece guy at Kanstul make me my own cool copy.

My "new' trumpet is an used Kanstul 610. All Kanstul products are made in the US. This trumpet was marketed as a "student" horn but it plays much better than my "professional" Stradivarius Bach which I had played for the last 16+ years.

In my own personal crusade against the insanely sky rocketing horn prices I have noticed over the last few years, I began to search for good trumpet deals over this past summer in an effort to find a great playing horn for cheap. During my search I stumbled across the Kanstul 610. It got great reviews online and I found 1 on e-bay with just a few dents for less than $250 so I emailed my e-bay expert who also happens to be my cousin, Matt. He bid and we won. My Mother actually paid for the trumpet and brought it down last summer. And I have played it ever since.

So when a relative told me her daughter wanted a trumpet for Christmas, I told her not to worry I know just what to do. I found 2 this time. 1 in excellent condition that we got for $211 and another that looks good just used for $103. Even with $15 for shipping I now have realised a small dream I had of getting a trumpet for less than the price of a custom Kanstul mouthpiece $125. I did it. I'm looking forward to trying out these "new" trumpets to see if they play as well as my current 610. You can't beat the price.

This may be late for this years Christmas shopping but just for future gift giving events for young children keep in mind the trumpet. I can't imagine getting more use out of a present than I have gotten out of the trumpet.

Here's a wonderful short story I was hipped to from my trumpet student Dianne:

Harry's Love  by Mill Horton
(From Steve Moss, ed., The World’s Shortest Stories)

He looked at her lying there, entranced by her sensuous curves,
her golden glow. But it was her voice that really moved him—sometimes soft and sexy, sometimes wild with abandon.  

Whatever his mood, she matched it.

He lifted her lovingly to his lips. Tonight they would make beautiful music together. Harry and his trumpet.

Now that's good writing.

Not sure why "beautiful music" is blue.

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