I am incredibly excited to be your new IHS President. I have been a part of behind-the-IHS-scenes for only a few years, but I have been blown away with what every member of the Advisory Council does to support our special society.

Thanks to Frank Lloyd for his wise presidential leader- ship. Our success is very much his success, and I’ll be keeping him on speed-dial. Frank gave us four wonderful years as IHS President (twice now) and, lucky for us, will not be going far as he steps into his role as Advisory Council member yet again. Thank you, Frank, for guiding us with such deep diligence.

I’ll never forget my first symposium 20 years ago in Kansas City. It felt strange and awe-inspiring to see horn players, teachers, and horn makers about whom I’d read and only heard on LPs. I even got to meet these heroes, and talk with them. I strongly believe this was the beginning of my realizing that, no matter what our successes, we’re all just people. I started to think that if these players could be that excellent, why couldn’t I!? I was mistakenly thinking I had to be perfect, and I was far from perfection. But because I spoke with other notable hornists at the symposium and they shared their fears, I was able to take a healthier look at my own fears.

I share this story to inspire anyone who is wondering whether or not to go to a horn event to stop wondering. Make your plans and go. If a regional horn event is happening near you, go go go! It will be worth it. And yes, most definitely find your way to Los Angeles next summer! Recordings and YouTube are fantastic, no doubt. But where the real magic lies is in the visceral experience of attending LIVE concerts and events.

What you experience goes much deeper than the concerts. It’s ComicCon for Horn! You’re sitting in the audience next to Phil Myers, and during the intermission he asks you what you thought. You’re in the audience of a Sarah Willis Horn Hang with Terry Johns, and he jokes about Maurice Murphy mentioning that he played at the Royal Wedding, to which he replied, “Well I played at Darth Vader’s funeral.” You stand in a room full of more than a dozen different makes of horns (natural and valve), pick them up, play them, and then ask the horn maker why they made the horn that way. All your horn sheet music needs are also fulfilled. Composers. Mutes. Cases. Oh my! Yes, these events are dangerous places for our credit cards, but oh so worth it!

Looking at the pictures on hornsociety.org right now of the people Jonathan Stoneman impressively assembled together in London, I feel the same awe I felt 20 years ago. Too many things to mention, but a special highlight for me was hearing the Budapest Festival Horn Quartet perform multiple times. Exquisite playing all around, with Hungarian encores only this ensemble could play so authentically. Watching Jasper Rees’s book I Found My Horn come to life through a one-man-play was another powerful shared experience for all.

You can read about the latest horn events on the pages that follow. This is why it’s always exciting to discover that thick white Horn Call envelope in the mailbox. We get to connect and feel a part of it all. In order for us all to be able to join in all the fun, we have to join. I’m preaching to the choir here, as you’re probably a member. But if you have borrowed this Horn Call, please join the IHS. If you have students or colleagues who are not members, please invite them to join our society, and meet us in Los Angeles for the 47th International Symposium (August 2-8). It’s going to be a blast!

Our International Horn Society is a group of people who universally share a sometimes-mild obsession with the horn. When I mentioned in London that I play the horn, “because while watching a movie and you’re feeling excited or crying, the horn is playing,” everyone just smiled and nodded. We get it. All of us get it. May you all have an active and artistic run up to the New Year, diving into constructive fundamental work while taking on some adventurous new pursuits, too.

Let’s attract more people to join us on our noble and majestic journey with our passionately shared obsession – The Horn!

Jeff

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