Quaternity, a trombone quartet of professional musicians from around the region made some beautiful music at several Grayson County schools last week. The group was formed in 2009, coming together both through long-time connections and word of mouth. Members include Lee Blakeman, Principal Trombone of the Evansville (IN) Symphony Orchestra and Orchestra Kentucky of Bowling Green; Steven Brown, the Nashville Symphony; J. Bryan Heath, currently the Bass Trombonist of the Owensboro Symphony, the Illinois Symphony, and Orchestra Kentucky of Bowling Green; and Australian trombonist Donna Parke, Principal Trombone of the Louisville Orchestra.
Speaking with music students between numbers, Parkes called the chamber music they perform “some of most valuable playing you can do on your instrument,” and also “more fun”. The close interaction and balance of the group “becomes a lot more interesting and complicated,” she added.
Even for that complexity, however, Brown pointed out that in a chamber group the goal is to have the same type of sound, whether emulating vocal, string or brass. ”There are things we can do that help us imitate these different groups.”
While all four credit family and school influences with their career paths, Heath has special memories of listening to the now-iconic Star Wars soundtracks. “I was like 5 years old running with my broomstick light saber breaking lamps. My mom would play music for me and I always really liked it a lot.”
At each stop throughout the day, the quartet reiterated how music had given them so many life opportunities. Blakeman said, “If you really like it and you pursue it to the best of your ability there are chances for you to receive scholarships to completely pay for your tuition.” And Parkes recalled realizing, “Wow, I can actually go to college and do this. I can study free from love of music, and can make a living with music.”
For more information about Quaternity visit their website quaternitytrombones.net.
Quaternity at Lawler Elementary. From left: Steve Brown, Lee Blakeman, Donna Parkes and Bryan Heath.