Stephen Lange

Following Jon’s arrival in the orchestra in 2005, the idea of forming a trombone quartet emerged. Initially, our primary goal was simply to enjoy making music together. Through the SLSO’s Community Partnership Program, we found ourselves frequently performing and exploring a vast array of quartet literature to fulfill our chamber credits. One particular memory stands out: at one of our first concerts at the Piper Palm House, the audience likely realized only upon arrival that we were a trombone quartet, not a string quartet! Additionally, we performed at esteemed venues, including Washington University Saint Louis, Sheldon Concert Hall, McKendree College, Millikin University, University of Missouri Saint Louis, and even had the opportunity to partake in a masterclass and performance at the University of Michigan.

With each performance, our enjoyment grew, creating a sense of fun and fulfillment.

We conducted rehearsals at various locations, but the majority took place in my soundproof basement. The rehearsals brought me immense joy, and I cherished the camaraderie. At times, it seemed like our laughter outweighed our musical accomplishments, yet in retrospect, I hold those sessions dear as they deepened our bond of friendship. Those sessions taught us the art of effective communication, where we not only learned to express ourselves but also honed our ability to truly listen to one another.

With rehearsals and impending performances constantly filling our schedule, we consistently pushed each other to excel as a cohesive unit. The catalyst for our collective growth was Gerry’s decision to embark on his solo CD project, “Departure.” Coinciding with our recent acquisition of a set of German-style trombones, it felt only fitting to capture the enchanting harmonies of a few Bruckner motets. The resulting sound, featuring alto, tenor, bass trombone, and contrabass trombone, was truly remarkable.

I will always remember the day we gathered to discuss the possibility of recording a full quartet CD. We understood the significance of the decision, knowing the amount of work it would entail. Once we decided to proceed with the project, we enlisted Paul Eachus, who proved to be the perfect choice. He handled the mastering, production, and engineering of our recording. We recorded “4.1” in Powell Hall, the home of the St. Louis Symphony, and it was released in January 2010.

I am filled with immense pride for our collective effort, as it encompassed the culmination of everyone’s exceptional individual contributions and the profound experience of working closely together during highly intense rehearsals. It is now evident to me just how deeply transformative that experience truly was. But most importantly, I am forever grateful to call Tim, Jon, and Gerry eternal friends!

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