VAPA hosts 1st annual Louisiana Horn Day

Mallory Kaul

ULM’s visual and performing arts program brought the best in brass for Louisiana Horn Day. French horn connoisseurs from both near and far came together to astound and educate with the power of music. 

Emy-Lou Biedenharn could be found filled to the brim Saturday with a variety of French horn wonders, featuring classics and contemporary pieces alike, all utilizing different forms of accompaniment. 

The festivities of Louisiana Horn Day started at 9 a.m. and didn’t wind down until 5 p.m.—a schedule packed with performances, exhibits and educational seminars for any interested participants. 

Houghton Horns, a brass instrument shop from Keller, Texas, helped kick off the excitement. They appeared with an exhibit of new French horns, sheet music, and equipment for students to try out and purchase. 

Attendees were able to experience an educational mouthpiece fitting session with Houghton Horns. Students found their ideal mouthpiece—an integral detail in the world of brass playing. 

Local brass musicians appeared for the Contributing Artists Recital, featuring French horn legends such as Brent Shires, Alexis Sczepanik, Catherine Roche-Wallace, Joshua Waldrop and ULM’s James Boldin. 

Boldin, interim director of VAPA, helped to organize the event, hoping to promote the beauty of the horn to Louisiana and the local region. 

Due to the event being originally planned to begin annually in 2020, Boldin expressed great thankfulness that the event was able to resume as planned—even if three years later. 

“My music students have gotten to see some amazing artists perform today and had the opportunity to work with a major orchestral professional,” Boldin said. “We are so fortunate.” 

The major orchestral professional in question is none other than Brett Hodge, the principal horn player for the Omaha Symphony, having performed with three of the country’s top orchestras. 

Students had the rare chance to hear Hodge perform in person and then work with him in a guest masterclass. They had the chance to play for Hodge one-on-one to receive invaluable feedback. 

“This is a landmark event,” Hodge said. “This brings in people from all over, and it’s an amazing opportunity for the students. The fact that it’s here is a big deal.”

Douglas Flores, a music performance major, had been looking forward to Louisiana Horn Day and thought his experiences from it were irreplaceable. 

“This is a great day for us horn players,” Flores said. “Getting to see Brett Hodge and the others perform, it’s very motivating to be better—to be like them.”