Today I'll review my 11-day journey to Minneapolis, MN and King of Prussia, PA covering 4,409 miles crossing the country in my trusty 2005 Tahoe to work with clients at the 2014 International Trumpet Guild Conference and host an open house at our Harrelson Trumpets Minneapolis location.
Spending several days on the road almost feels like home since the continental USA was my backyard as a young boy. My sister and I were raised on the road in a semi truck traveling to (and through) different states daily. We would wake up one morning in the sand dunes of Utah and the next morning in downtown Detroit, then NYC, Florida, etc. The photo to the left was taken in 1978 in Southern California as my sister and I sat on the foot of the Sinclair dinosaur.
Every day was an adventure and learning was truly a hands-on experience. I recall spending many hours adding up the mileage between cities to help my parents navigate around a detour using our huge atlas. For any younger readers, there were no mobile phones, GPS devices or other electronics available in the 70's. Our navigation tools included maps on printed paper, road signs, a CB radio and common sense. Speaking of CB radios, which are "Citizen Band" two-way mobile broadcasting systems, my sister and I had our own handles. I was Rug Rat I and my sister, Jenn, was Rug Rat II.
On this trip, I drove from our Denver location to pick up Jen and Christine in Minneapolis on my way to Pennsylvania. Two and a half days on the road gave me a chance to reflect on what has been accomplished since our journey to the ITG Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan last year. Since then, I have developed the 5MM Modular Mouthpiece, the Adjustable Gap Receiver, opened a second Harrelson Trumpets location in Denver, Colorado, moved across the country and built 120+ trumpets. One year has gone by in the blink of an eye, but at least there is something to show for it.
Once again, we exhibited with several tables in the main display hall and showed our AGR Summit line in our private room. Our neighbors in the private room included Hub van Laar and Eclipse Trumpets (Leigh McKinney & Don Cornelius) which was a perfect setup as we all truly care about building the highest quality custom trumpets available today.
Our neighbors in the main hall included David Maller of Maller Brass and Conn/Selmer. David is a fine craftsman who builds beautiful Baroque period brass instruments. I spent a few short sessions practicing on his creations and would seriously consider purchasing one in the future. Playing a period instrument truly gave me a new appreciation for our history and lineage as a brotherhood of trumpet performers. How did they play on those sharp mouthpieces? Regardless, I was able to play a few simple tunes with a little practice and had no problems going back to my Summit One.
Since I have been pushing myself very hard to re-learn trumpet playing and Jazz improvisation, I got up on stage for one of the late night jam sessions and played a few notes. For those of you who do not know, I have lost my memory of trumpet playing a few times throughout my life. Ironically, playing trumpet is one of my greatest challenges.
Don't worry, I am back up to speed on most things and have been working on the Charlier Etudes and playing chord changes daily. By the next ITG conference, I'll be back to full strength. You can read all about my memory loss by clicking on the following two links.
Re-learning Trumpet (and other important life skills)
My Two-year Survival Anniversary and Mother's Day
The ITG Conference is almost like a second family of trumpet players, many of which are my close friends. There are so many great people involved in this event from performers to manufacturers, composers to attendees from around the globe. And I made so many new friends this year that I should really sit down and label all of my photos.
Most of my time was devoted to working with clients ready to have a new custom trumpet built. Deciding on the best leadpipe, bell, model configuration and minor details is a lot of fun and the process is much easier when you have so many great horns to compare in one place. I am quite sure that some of you had a great time trying out horns. I heard one client play the Tomasi flawlessly right before he said, "I'm ready to order!". Seriously, you guys make me want to practice.
I was quite surprised when one of my clients brought a trumpet donation for the Roots of Music program that Harrelson Trumpets supports in New Orleans. Thank you for your donation Jim! Please consider donating a musical instrument to this important after school non-profit program. We are accepting donations at the Minneapolis and Denver shop locations.
We brought over a dozen trumpets including a Summit Midnight, three AGR Summits including one that featured artistic hand carving throughout the trim kit, receiver and mouthpiece. I only hand carve once or twice a year so this horn is special. We also brought the Medusa trumpet with two bells, a set of HT3/4/5 and Bravura models. The prototype SWE Tuning slide for Bach Stradivarius was very popular as were the AGR and Gap Solution Kits.
Since the ITG, I have been working on some really fun projects and look forward to building many more throughout the summer. Please take a minute to find me on Facebook (Jason Harrelson) so see the latest photos of my progress.
I've included a few photos of my latest projects below...
Hand carved trumpet photos...