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Trombone is the star of Nov. 18 music workshop

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Teachers and students of trombone can “Get Trombona-fide” Saturday, Nov. 18, at Senseney Music, 2300 Lincoln in Wichita, with the help of area college students and Bethel College’s trombone instructor.

Rob Tierney is the low brass instrument instructor at Bethel College and at Hesston High School. He will be coordinating the Nov. 18 trombone workshop and giving two clinics using SmartMusic computer software that day.

Tierney came to south central Kansas from the northeastern United States, where he played trombone with a number of professional orchestras including the major symphony orchestras in Boston, Hartford, Conn., and Albany, N.Y. He earned a master’s degree in trombone performance from the New England Conservatory, where he studied with Ron Barron, principal trombone of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and Doug Yeo, bass trombonist with the BSO. In addition to his teaching duties, Tierney plays in the Wichita Grand Opera.

The first SmartMusic clinic will be “Using SmartMusic with your beginning student (trombone or any instrument).” Tierney described this as “a hands-on clinic demonstrating many of the tools SmartMusic has to offer for helping a beginning student. I will demonstrate how you can use this with an individual or in a small or large group setting.”

For the second clinic, “Using SmartMusic to prepare for an upper level solo recital or contest,” Tierney will use the Kansas Music Educators Association (KMEA) trombone solo “Andante et Allegro” by Ropartz as his example, performing the entire piece using SmartMusic as an accompanist. “This is a must-attend for all district trombone players auditioning for the state KMEA [competition] in January,” Tierney said.

Another of the day’s special features is a performance by a trombone quartet made up of two of Tierney’s Bethel students and two Wichita State University students. “We will present a half-hour recital of very challenging and entertaining works for this unique ensemble,” Tierney says. “If you have never heard a good trombone ensemble or quartet, you will be in for a treat.

“Not only are the pieces being performed by great musicians, but the blend and clarity of a good trombone ensemble is like nothing else,” he continued. “I am very excited about working with these young musicians and presenting this collaboration of some of the best trombone players in the state.”

The members of the trombone quartet are Bethel College students Ben Harder, Hesston, and Andy Toews, North Newton, and WSU students Ian Fitzwater, Augusta, and Adam Jones (bass trombone), Wichita.

The “Get Trombona-fide” workshop begins at 9 a.m. and lasts until 3 p.m. The cost is $15, including lunch. To pre-register or for more information, contact Ralph McKay, (316) 835-2682,, or Randy Crow, (316) 729-2462, You may also register on-site the day of the workshop.

Bethel College is a four-year liberal arts college affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. Founded in 1887, it is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Bethel is known for its academic excellence and has been named a Top Tier college by U.S. News & World Report every year since 1998. For more information, see the Bethel Web site at

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