Hornplayer.net Enters a New Era

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As noted on Monday, news broke this weekend that Hornplayer.net has been acquired by the International Horn Society. Robin Moffatt on Monday posted to the Yahoo horn list that

In 1996, just after dinosaurs walked the face of the internet, hornplayer.net began life as “The Horn Player’s Resources Pages”.

In 1999 I registered the domain name hornplayer.net, and from then on the site became on of the most popular sites on the internet for horn players.

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In August 2011, hornplayer.net moves onto the next exciting phase of its existence.

I am pleased to let you know that the International Horn Society (IHS) will be acquiring hornplayer.net and taking on full responsibility for it. With the birth of my son at the end of last month, it is an appropriate time for me to focus my responsibilities elsewhere!

In his post he also notes that “My involvement with hornplayer.net will cease on 18th August.” As today is August 18 an era ends and an era begins.

While the site was a 2010 winner of the Golden Clam Award, elements of Hornplayer.net were in fact dated, it was constructed in an older database format, and actually horn Internet insiders have known for some months that the site was for sale. Due to my own potential conflict of interest as a current member of the Advisory Council of the IHS I did not vote or participate in the decision making process related to the IHS purchasing Hornplayer.net and will absolutely be on equal footing with Horn Matters readers as to seeing how the Hornplayer.net site is incorporated into The IHS Online. I will not be a part of their discussions on this topic. But on this historic occasion I did want to offer a few reflections and notes on the Hornplayer.net site as it was, before it is lost to memory.

Over on the left side of the main page was this menu. Right at the top was really the big feature of this site, the free classified advertisements. This was a great service. As the IHS also has for many years had listings of horns for sale (Bruce Hembd and I, back when we managed the IHS site, for a time maintained a similar area) this feature will I believe be incorporated into the existing IHS sales area. At present at least this service is only offered to IHS members, with the following text displayed prominently: “IHS members can enter their own ads by logging in and clicking the ‘New Entry’ button.” So it appears that the service would continue to be free for IHS members, but beyond that nothing has been formally announced. In initial comments on the horn discussion groups this is an area that many will be watching, as so many individuals have relied on this free classified service for sales of horns and accessories.

Next up in the site was the information archive. This was an archive of late 1990s e-mails from the original horn discussion group, and while useful in a way, it was dated. I know for sure there were messages in there that I wrote and I would honestly rather see them off the Internet at this point. But they were a service to the horn world back when there really was not much on the Internet on the horn.

Section listings were the next item in the list. This was a neat feature in a way but only as good as the people doing the listings and updating them! It will be interesting to see if the IHS maintains this feature, perhaps it will become a part of their networking area.

Next up was a teachers database. How many of you ever were searching for the name of a horn player and the search took you right to their listing on Hornplayer.net? This also will be interesting to see how the IHS manages this but it would appear that they might also be destined for the networking area in the IHS site, possibly restricted to members only.

Significa was an area of essentially trivia questions by Walter Hecht. It was a great place to spend some time pondering questions such as “What major orchestra did George Szell nickname ‘Murder, Incorporated’ and why?” (Answer: New York Philharmonic-They adored their own conductor, Toscannini, and terrorized guest conductors). What happens to this area with the IHS change will be another one to watch.

Then we get to the Veneklasen horn article. For an equipment guy like me this article by Walter Hecht was always a good read. As noted in the first sentence of the article, “Mark Veneklasen had a dream of building a better horn” and he made two prototype horns that were unlike any others and incorporated features far ahead of their time. Hopefully this article will live on somewhere.

Finally we get to the links page which was actually a bit spotty and dated. Links pages used to be really important things for driving traffic but now days search engines such as Google drive the Internet. When did you last go to a links page?

Just below the links on the menu was this dedication. Many readers over the years must have thought to themselves, who was this Nicole Taylor? She was a horn student in Texas that passed on in 1997 at the much too young age of 17. Back in those early days before social networking she built a personal, horn related website that was linked from the dedication page and surprisingly it is still online. I am thinking the IHS won’t maintain that dedication page or link but we at Horn Matters are happy to offer a link to her website here in her memory, a view into the wayback machine so to speak of the horn Internet and the life and dreams of a young hornist.

With that we bid farewell to the old Hornplayer.net, although as of the posting of this article (the morning of August 18) the site was still up as before. Visit the link while you can. Thank you Robin Moffatt for your dedicated work over many years to maintain this site and best wishes to the IHS Online as they begin to carry the Hornplayer.net torch.