Rick Trostel: Trumpet is his constant companion

Arts profile

Posted: Thursday, May 25, 2000

Like a second wife:Musician Rick Trostel, 40, has been playing trumpet since he was 10.

``I've played every day for almost three years. I haul my trumpet along on kayaking trips - I work for Alaska Discovery in the summer. I haul it on airplane trips and play with a mute in the airports, and even the back seats of moving cars. It's kind of like a second wife,'' he said.

Partly it's the results that motivate him. He said when he tries to hit a high note, or play a soft note, he doesn't want to bomb because his chops aren't up.

``Like a runner, the more you run, the better your times in races are. That consistency is really important,'' he said. ``Trumpet is a very physical instrument to play. All instruments are, but particularly trumpet, trombone and brass instruments.''

Symphony and marching band: Trostel plays with the Juneau Symphony, the Juneau Brass Quintet and in the summer with the Juneau Marching Band. He also performs at Resurrection Lutheran Church.

His first love is classical music. He said about 20 percent to 30 percent of the music he plays is jazz, but he's more of a follower and ensemble player than a leader or soloist when it comes to that style.

``I love to improvise but I'm pretty limited at it,'' he said.

Skiing, kayaking and summer camp: A former grade school teacher, Trostel now teaches music at Thrush Hill Music, a nonprofit school and studio. He and William Todd Hunt offer private lessons, workshops and organize an annual summer music camp. He also teaches music at the Juneau Community Charter School.

Depending on the season, he also works a kayak guide and a ski instructor.

Music on the water: When he started working with Alaska Discovery Wilderness Tours eight years ago, he began taking his trumpet along on trips to Glacier Bay.

``I figured, `What the heck, let's see if we can make the glaciers calve,' '' he said. ``It doesn't work, by the way.''

He said it's surprising how quiet a loud instrument like the trumpet is when it's played outdoors in Southeast Alaska.

``The sound is soaked up by the trees and space and overpowered by the ambient water noises and wind. It doesn't carry,'' he said. ``The Grand Canyon is a beautiful place to play. An ultimate experience for me would be to bring a group of musicians along on a kayaking trip (there).''

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