Bill Adam, and Fired Up for 5 Trumpets!


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fired up for 5 trumpetsBy David Roth of EverythingTrumpet.com

Let me tell you about Bill Adam.

If, in the last five decades, you have listened to the radio, purchased a recording, watched television, gone to the movies, seen a live show or a major recording artist on tour, heard a big band or been to clubs, then chances are excellent that you have heard a Bill Adam student.

Adam students can be found as Grammy award recipients and playing in prominent orchestras, as well as teaching music privately and at colleges and schools worldwide.

Fired Up!

Fired Up! for 5 Trumpets was written in honor of master trumpet teacher Bill Adam, who has had such a profound effect on his students’ lives that they couldn’t let the milestone of his 80th birthday go by without a major acknowledgment.

Shortly after Adam’s 79th birthday, a group of Adam students decided to organize a surprise 80th birthday celebration. Although Bill Adam retired as Professor Emeritus from the prestigious Indiana University School of Music in 1988, he remains active teaching and keeps in contact with many of his students.

It wasn’t easy to keep the event a secret from him for almost a year. Every student who ever studied with Bill Adam was invited, and more than 150 current and former students from all over the world attended the event on October 25, 1997 in Bloomington, Indiana.

A new commission

When it was decided that a piece should be written especially for the celebration, I immediately knew what its title should refer to the words every Adam student has heard time and again at the start of a lesson: “Let’s get this thing fired up!”

Fired Up! was premiered during the event by Charley Davis, Robert Baca, Karl Sievers, Pat Harbison and Barry Springer. You can learn more about the players on the World Wide Web at http://everythingtrumpet.com/BuyFiredUp

Lead on, lead off

Fired Up! is a swing piece with a performance time of 2:30. There is no lead part in the traditional sense; the lead part is shared among the section, hence the “lead on” and “lead off” indications in the score. This gives each player a section in which they can be heard on lead and creates a nice effect for the audience to hear.

With all parts being equal, naming the trumpet parts the usual 1st, 2nd and so forth wouldn’t have the same meaning, so each of the parts is named trumpet in a different language: Trumpet (English), Trompette (French), Tromba (Italian), Trompeta (Spanish), and Trumeyt (Yiddish).

The “Trumpet” part begins and ends on lead. There is also a small improv section in the Trumeyt part which includes a transcription of the solo as played by Barry Springer at the premiere. You may choose to play the written solo or improvise one of your own.

With the range not exceeding a high “C,” this tune is accessible to many college and some high school trumpet players. The scoring for 5 trumpets allows most big band trumpet sections to add a guest trumpeter in a special program feature as was done at the first public performance, played by Marvin Stamm with the trumpet section of the David Rosen Orchestra in Little Rock, Arkansas.

A gift

The best gifts are the ones that are hand-made. This is my gift to Bill Adam. My hope is that it will convey his infectious enthusiasm in a way that other trumpet players and their audiences can enjoy.

It is my sincere wish that you get a chance to perform this work for someone who means as much to you as Bill Adam does to his students.

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