San Diego Symphony hornist Doug Hall is hosting a regional horn workshop next weekend, but his name is also in the news if you read The Horn Call. On page 46 of the May, 2014 issue is an article titled “Doug Hall’s ‘Pay it Forward’ Gift to a Young Horn Player” by David Axelson. It was of particular interest to me as I now teach at Arizona State the horn player that received the gift horn facilitated by Hall.
While it is not stated in the Horn Call article, the article there is reprinted in full from an article that you can also read online, originally published in the Coronado Eagle & Journal (link here). The short version of this is that Hall got an idea to rebuild a horn that had been a old rental horn, very beat up and literally saved from the trash by a former member of the San Diego Symphony, George Cable. It is a pre-war Knopf horn, and the article (well worth reading at the link above or in The Horn Call) details how a number of other people became involved with the rebuilding effort including Darby Hinshaw, George McCracken, Eric High, Bill Holcombe, and Bruce Roberts.
This is where I enter into the story of this instrument in a small way as well. I was very excited to play the horn when it arrived in Arizona and found it had a really nice sound (classic Knopf/Geyer) and played well generally but was very sharp and the high Bb was not very good at all.
We puzzled over this in a number of lessons. I knew for sure the main slide needed extended. Jackie obtained some tube from Hall to extend the slide, and realizing that it could probably be extended so far as to use dedicated extenders I started seeing what I had around that would work as extenders. I ended up offering her, temporarily, the extender slides off the stop valve on my Paxman triple and then, the last week of classes, carved out time to make extenders using the tubing from Hall (I have just enough horn building experience to be dangerous! See this article for an example of my work).
So add one more person to the list of people involved in getting this vintage horn back in shape and note that now the high Bb is pretty stable, the horn plays in tune, and the sound is still really nice.
And going back to the first sentence of this article, The Southwest Horn Convention is this coming Memorial Day weekend in San Diego! If you are in the area be sure to attend, there will be tons of horns to try and a very interesting selection of guest artists and sessions. More info here:
And thank you again to Doug Hall not only for the photo above but also his efforts to “pay it forward” and invest in the future.