Hello, and welcome to “The Last Trombone.” Here are a few words to give you a little context about what you’ll find here.
Who is “The Last Trombone”?
I’m Douglas Yeo, a trombonist, teacher and author living in Illinois. A detailed biography may be found on my website, yeodoug.com, but here are a few salient points that will give you an idea about who I am. I was born in Monterey, California and grew up in Queens and Valley Stream, New York, moving to New Jersey when my father changed jobs after my sophomore year in high school. I’m a graduate of Wheaton College (Illinois) and New York University. After several years of free lance playing in New York City and two years as a high school band director in Edison, New Jersey, I was bass trombonist of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra from 1981-1985 and bass trombonist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra from 1985-2012. Upon my retirement from the BSO, Arizona State University approached me about taking on the position of Professor of Trombone at ASU and I did so from 2012-2016. I have now retired from that position although the word “retirement” is a misnomer; I think I am busier than ever, but enjoying spending my time in reading and research and writing several books and many articles, traveling with my wife, especially to enjoy the great beauty of the American west, and spending time with our daughters and their families. In 2018, my wife and I moved to the Chicago area in order to live closer to our two grandchildren, and since fall 2019, I have been the trombone professor at Wheaton College.
What is this blog all about?
Since 1996, my website yeodoug.com has been my primary vehicle for communicating my ideas about life, faith and music. When it was launched, it was the first website on the Internet devoted to the trombone and since that time, it has received millions of site visits. When I was teaching at ASU, I used Facebook as a tool to let people know about our program, encourage my students and celebrate their success, and let people know of articles and other resources that I thought would interest them. When I left ASU (well, I am no longer teaching there full time, but School of Music Director Heather Landes did confer on me the title of Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Trombone, a title with no salary or duties but I remain chairman of several Doctoral committees), many people asked if I would be continuing on Facebook so they could keep up with my activities.
But, frankly, the social media platform doesn’t particularly interest me for a number of reasons. I have a profile on Facebook but I have no posts there and you can’t “friend” me because I only accept friend requests from friends of friends and I have no friends in the Facebook universe. I do not intend to use Facebook, Twitter or any of the other popular social media tools. However, after a lot of thought, discussion and prayer, I decided that a blog format would allow me to engage people in things that are important to me. Hence this blog was born.
What will you be talking about in “The Last Trombone”?
The subtitle of this blog is “Occasional thoughts on Life, Faith and the Trombone.” My Christian faith – my expression of faith was born in the reformed tradition and my wife and I are members of a United Reformed Church (URC) – informs all that I think, say and do. In this blog, I will put out thoughts about the whole of life, my Christian faith (including how that faith intersects with life), and the musical activities I engage in, especially those relating to the trombone. The three photos above give a little snapshot into my musical world, including my work as a soloist with orchestras (the photo on the right shows me playing Christopher Brubeck’s Bass Trombone Concerto with the Boston Pops Orchestra) and also my interest in historical instruments like the serpent, sackbut and ophicleide (the photo in the middle shows me giving a lecture-recital at the Hamamatsu Musical Instrument Museum in Japan). The form of the blog will be free-wheeling, with text, photos, links and videos.
How often will you post a new blog entry?
The short answer is, “When I have something to say.” I’m involved in a lot of writing projects. I have deadlines from publishers that I need to meet, and spending time with my wife, family and church is the most important things to me. So I will post to this blog when I have time and something I want to share. My general goal is to post something at least once a week. Time will tell if I can keep up that schedule, but I am committed to this and am excited about the possibilities of having this new vehicle to communicate ideas to others.
Photo credits (left to right): Timothy Hutchens, Kazuhiko Shima, Michael Lutch.