UT Trombone Choir raising money to play at International Trombone Festival

Traveling to Europe is something many college students dream of and next month the University of Texas Trombone Choir is getting the chance to do just that. They will get to play for some of the best trombone players around the world but they need some help to get there.

The group is set to play at the International Trombone Festival in Spain. It's a dream come true for these music students but getting there is quite expensive. That's why the ensemble created a secret weapon to help them raise money.

Many of the musicians in the Trombone Choir have been playing since they were children. They're a part of a tradition that goes way back.

UT Professor of Trombone Nathaniel Brickens says, "Ensemble trombone choirs started over 500 years ago in Germany. They were popular there. And in America they've been here maybe 300 to 400 years."

The current Trombone Choir students have received a special invitation to play at the International Trombone Festival in Valencia, Spain.

"It's a wonderful opportunity for the students to work with some of the world's finest trombone players and actually perform for them so we are very excited," Brickens says.

So how do they plan to make themselves stand out? With what's called a pyro-trombone. It was created Valentin Guerin, a French exchange student at UT.

Guerin says, "I've been working about two years on different prototypes and having something safe. Basically it's like a big watergun into a trombone, but I'm not throwing water. I'm throwing fuel."

Here's how it works.

Guerin plays the trombone with his right hand. He has a trigger in his left one which he clicks to the beat. He wears a protective glove and says that the heat can make it difficult to tune. But Guerin sees this as a way to get more people interested in the music.

"Trombone is not truly loved by people and then in you add fire people say, wow I want to see this," Guerin says.

Guerin says the pyro-trombone gets some mixed reactions. "Most of them say it's crazy, it's insane or it's genius."

"Some people who are really into classical music didn't like it," Guerin adds.

Either way the pyro-trombone is headed to the festival along with 18 eager students, like Evan Sankey. Sankey says, "I guess it's kind of like Comic-Con for trombone players."

Sankey has been playing trombone for 16 years and says the trip will be a one of a kind experience. He hopes his community will help them get there.

The team is raising money through HornRaiser. They have a goal of $15,000 and as of Thursday morning they are more than halfway to their goal. If you'd like to help them, you can head to their HornRaiser page here.

When it comes to their performance, they say the pyro-trombone will only be used outdoors for safety reasons. You can check it out action here.


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