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Wesley Nance

Wesley Nance
Wesley Nance

Instrument: Trumpet

With the RPO since: 1986

My earliest musical memory is playing a kids’ record player in my bedroom when I was two years old.

I knew I would make music my career when I was in high school. My trumpet teacher would take me out to play gigs with her, and I was working with some of the best players in Southern California. It was so much fun! I've actually never held down a normal 9 to 5 job. I've always been employed playing the trumpet.

Most influential teachers: Donovan Gray (my band director and very fine trumpeter who started me - much credit goes to him), Joan LaRue (one of the finest teachers in the LA area), RobRoy McGregor (former second trumpet in LA, and the teacher that set a new bar for me and prepared me for college auditions), Barbara Butler (ESM undergrad – a wonderful teacher who pushed very hard, she prepared me for my first RPO audition, which I won at age 17) and Charles Geyer (ESM masters - listening to Charlie play is a lesson in itself – what a beautiful sound). I continue to learn daily as I listen to my colleagues play so beautifully at every RPO concert.

Favorite composer and/or musical period: J.S. Bach – some of the greatest and most challenging trumpet writing in the entire repertoire. I love the complexity of the music and his devotion to God in everything that he wrote. Mahler is also a favorite

What do you most enjoy about performing? I really enjoy the collaboration with the other players in my section and the other sections, many of whom are close friends, to try to bring all of the separate and independent parts together into one cohesive sound. The challenge is for us to all work and blend together with a common goal while still maintaining our musical identities and individual ideas (to a certain extent) while simultaneously collaborating with the conductor. This is incredibly difficult, but wonderfully rewarding when everything pulls together.

What is your favorite part of being a member of the RPO? Going to work every day with my lovely wife, RPO Assistant Concertmaster Shannon Nance. When things are slow in the trumpet section I can just gaze lovingly at her from across the stage! The fact that my principal trumpet, Doug Prosser, is one of my best friends doesn't hurt, either.

When I'm not onstage, you might find me roasting coffee; brewing espresso; driving our four kids around to music lessons, gymnastics, dance, etc.; coaching the Lego Robotics team at the Charles Finney School, where I’m the Director of Music as well; teaching trumpet at the Eastman Community School; directing the ECMS Trumpet Ensemble; chairing the RPO players committee; writing a new piece of music; playing tennis, sailing, or watching a movie with Shannon and the kids down in the home theater. I’m sure I forgot something in there ...

I love to dine at Rooney's. Great service with wonderful food. It’s hard to beat anywhere! 2 Vine is great as well, we frequently grab a quick bite after concerts.

My favorite thing about Rochester is short commutes, the beautiful seasons (except winter, sorry ...) and Lake Ontario. Growing up in LA, going anywhere took an hour. I like the fact that my commute to work is less than 15 minutes. Fall here is just breathtaking, and I don't remember having the same euphoric feeling about spring when I was growing up in California. Being able to sail on Lake Ontario gives you a total sense of escape from the noise and stress of everyday life.

What do you think is the Orchestra's most important role in our community? It's very important for the RPO to continue to educate students, as well as bring joy to the folks in the regular concert audience. Classical music is still very important in our MTV fast-food generation – kids need to be exposed to things with complexity and maturity, not just quick fixes for their ever-shortening attention spans. It is also important to encourage kids to take up instruments – to develop discipline for something besides sports. Sports are great, but too often it's the only area of a child's life where they understand the discipline and hard work they will need to be successful in life.

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