One way to know someone is by their hobbies. The name of Verne Reynolds should be familiar to Horn Matters readers, as Bruce and I both studied with him at Eastman and he was not only the long-time horn professor there but also a composer of some note. I have a few personal reflections here on my studies.
As accurately reflected in the musical demands of compositions such as his 48 Etudes, Reynolds could be a very stern and demanding horn teacher. Stress for the student was part of the plan, and I have to believe he felt a level of stress too, it could not have been fun teaching that way.
As I have reached the end of another semester this week I can totally see that in academia, at the end of a long year of teaching, you really crave and need downtime, to revive after the stress of all that a horn professor does.
In the case of Verne Reynolds, his downtime activities included a large garden at his home. My last summer in Rochester I played most of the summer season of the Rochester Philharmonic. His wife Shirley would bring in paper bags of vegetables from their garden to rehearsals to give away (she was a member of the RPO violin section), and I know I enjoyed the fruit of his labors that summer!
Not that our humble garden in Arizona really compares, but one project this summer is to expand the plot and yes, I planted and grew the Swiss chard in this photo. So while I realize that for many of our readers horn playing is a hobby, summer is a great time to explore other interests as well, with a side goal of stress reduction.