John Marcellus, Director
The late Emory Remington founded the Eastman Trombone Choir at the Eastman School of Music in 1941. Its current Director since 1978 is Kilbourn Professor John R. Marcellus.
Emory Remington, professor of trombone for nearly fifty years at the Eastman School, established the concept of the present day Trombone Choir as a pedagogical extension of the private trombone class to include a musical ensemble experience. This concept has been imitated throughout most colleges and universities in the United States and abroad.
Remington’s successor, Professor Donald Knaub, directed the Choir from 1972 to 1977 and expanded the scope of the Choir to include more contemporary music and concert activities.
Professor Marcellus has continued this tradition and under his leadership the Choir had its first tour of Germany and Holland in 2000 where they performed at the International Trombone Festival in Utrecht. The Choir has also appeared at the International Trombone Festivals in Nashville in 1979 and 1987. In 2001 the Choir was the winner of the Emory Remington Trombone Choir Competition.
In 1991, the Choir performed at the International Trombone Workshop, which was held at the Eastman School to celebrate the centennial of Emory Remington. Other appearances include many Eastern Trombone Workshops and New York Brass Conferences, Western Mass Trombone Workshop, Montreal Low Brass Workshop, National MENC, and NYSSMA conventions in Buffalo and Rochester.
Other local concerts and performances have been with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Rochester Oratorio Society, Hochstein School of Music, and churches throughout the Rochester area. For many years the choir was a feature of the Rochester Bach Festival. The Choir has also recorded for Mark Records, Stolat Records, and for Williams Music.
The sound of the Eastman Trombone Choir has been described as “majestic,” “noble,” “brilliant,” “soothing,” and “exciting.”
Other Trombone Ensembles
The Eastman Bionic Bones, formed in 1978, is an integral part of the Eastman Trombone Choir, created to give members of the trombone class experience in traditional jazz trombone styles. Many arrangements have been written by members of the group, and former members have gone on to play with the big bands of Woody Herman, Buddy Rich, Maynard Ferguson, Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, and Danish Radio, and as freelancers in New York, Los Angeles, and Nashville.
The Eastman School is fortunate to have been given the Kai Winding Trombone Septet library, which is utilized by the Eastman-Winding Trombone Septet and the Bionic Bones, by Mrs. Winding through the assistance of Chuck Mangione. In 1997, the Eastman-Winding Trombone Septet was honored by the International Trombone Association as the winner of the Kai Winding Jazz Trombone Ensemble Competition, and appeared at the International Trombone Festival at the University of Illinois.
The Bionic Bones have appeared at the International Trombone Festival, the Eastern Trombone Workshop in Washington, D.C., the Montreal Low Brass Workshop, the McMaster-Yamaha Low Brass Festival in Ontario, and many New York Brass Conferences.