EIGHT

Hi, friends!

Well, it’s October – but you wouldn’t know it here in Florida. Hope you’re enjoying a pumpkin flavored treat wherever you are! A lot has happened since I last wrote, per the usual. Let me catch you up.

My last school year as a college student (yippee!) began with an awesome kayaking excursion with the other trumpet teaching assistants and our fearless leader (and teacher), Dr. Moore. We kayaked all around the Wakulla river, and even spotted a few gators! The trip was a definite success – nobody fell in, there was lots of laughing, and concluded with awesome local food and company.

Kayaking with the Trumpet TA’s and Dr. Moore

This semester, the trumpet studio is welcoming FIVE guest artists to the FSU College of Music. Our first was Musician 1st Class Christopher Lane of the United States Coast Guard Band. Chris is an FSU alumni and co-owner of a popular valve oil brand, Monster Oil. I had an awesome time getting to know him and really enjoyed his playing, teaching, and stories he shared over lunch.

FSU Trumpet TA’s with Chris Lane

After Chris left, Hurricane Irma was getting very close to making landfall in South Florida. FSU ended up cancelling school for a week, giving students plenty of time to evacuate. Sam and I chose to drive all the way to Oklahoma to meet our newest family member, our nephew, AJ. Sam’s brother and his wife, Katy live in Moore, OK with their (now) two children, and graciously opened their home to us while we waited for the hurricane to pass. Amazingly, our home had no damage from the storm at all. To say we are blessed and thankful is a massive understatement.

Sam and baby AJ

Prof. Michael Anderson, trumpet teacher at Oklahoma City University, saw on social media I was in Oklahoma waiting out hurricane Irma, and to my delight, invited me to give a master class to his studio. I met Prof. Anderson 10 years ago while attending a brass conference in Kalavrita, Greece, if you can believe that! He is a wonderful person that I continue to learn a great deal from. It was my honor and privilege to work with his students!

Mid-presentation at Oklahoma City University

After we made the very long drive back to Florida, we eventually settled back into our school week routine. The FSU Wind Orchestra opened their season this fall with a heavy program full of standard wind band repertoire, including Lincolnshire Posy by Grainger, Holst’s Suite in E-Flat, and Barber’s Commando March. I am continually inspired by my colleagues in this trumpet section. They are excellent musicians and even better people. I am so lucky!

2017 Wind Orchestra Trumpet Section

How’s that for an update? As always, thanks for reading and for your support. Wishing you and yours a wonderful fall season!

Love,
Becki

SEVEN

Hi everybody!

It’s been a hot second since I’ve written last. Thought it was time to catch you up with all my summer happenings. Hang in there with me – I’ve got a lot to share!

My biggest event of the summer was attending the International Trumpet Guild conference in Hershey, Pennsylvania. While there, I worked as a reporter for the ITG journal, served as a judge for the ITG Youth Competition, recruited writers for my column in the journal – the Journal, Jr., and gave a presentation discussing my research of solo repertoire for the student trumpeter. I also had the privilege of cheering on my FSU colleagues, Daniel Haddock to a first place finish in the ITG Solo Competition, and Matt Mignardi to a third place finish in the ITG Military Excerpts Competition. Needless to say, I had a wonderful time and came home happy and tired!

Miriam Hickman and I after my clinic at ITG 2017
“Team FSU” at ITG 2017!

I spent my 4th of July holiday with a good friend and FSU colleague of mine, Eric Millard, performing in an outdoor concert with the Panama City Pops orchestra. Although it was VERY hot outside, the view wasn’t too shabby, the music was lighthearted and fun, and the people were incredibly kind and welcoming!

Eric and I at a 4th of July concert with the Panama City Pops Orchestra. Not a bad view!

I have spent many summers at some form of music camp in my lifetime. This year, I spent it as a brass coach and trumpet teacher at FSU’s Summer Music Camps. As you might notice from the photo below, this year showed record numbers of students in attendance, which was very exciting! I conducted my largest brass ensemble to date, and really enjoyed getting to know the students and hearing them progress throughout our time together.

With the Renegade Band brass students at FSU’s Summer Music Camp

I also had a little fun over the summer, of course! What’s a summer without fun, anyway? My sweet husband planned a wonderful weekend in Atlanta for my birthday, which included amazing seats at an Atlanta Braves game, incredible food at a local Italian restaurant, and a trip to a few different art galleries. It was a wonderful way to ring in a new year!

My birthday weekend – Go Braves!

Sam’s brother and his wife welcomed a new addition to their family this summer! Our nephew, Anthony Joseph Walenz IV, or “AJ,” was born on July 14th, weighing 8 pounds, 7 ounces. He and his sister, Ruth Anne couldn’t possibly be any sweeter!

Welcome to the world, baby AJ!

Have I mentioned I love being an aunt? I flew home to Kansas for a week to spend time with my family this summer, catching up with my parents, as well as my sister, Mandy, her husband Chad, and their sweet little boy, Collin. While there, Collin and I read lots of books and played with his puppy, Izzy. He also gifted me with one of my favorite nicknames ever, “Aunt Bee-bee.”

Sweet time with my nephew Collin and his puppy, Izzy

The summer came to a close with a Walenz family vacation to Amelia Island. While there, Sam’s parents, Tony and Lora joined us for daily beach trips, a kayaking excursion, and many family meals together. It was HOT, but so much fun spending time together and relaxing in such a beautiful location.

Walenz vacation at Amelia Island!

Whew! There you have it – a crash course of my summer events. Another blog will be posted next week to catch you up with the start of school events, so stay tuned.

Love,
Becki

SIX

Hi everybody!

Good grief – it’s been a hot second since my last blog! Time to catch y’all up.

Let’s rewind back to late February, when I was a part of a truly inspiring concert with the FSU Symphony Orchestra. On the program was Tchaikovsky’s 6th Symphony, Samuel Barber’s Violin Concerto, and Strauss’ Overture to Die Fledermaus! This concert was one of my favorites that I’ve performed so far at Florida State, and had a jam-packed audience, which always adds to the excitement! Thanks to my colleagues and Dr. Jimenez for a wonderful evening of music making.

Dress rehearsal with USO

Regents Professor of Music David Hickman of Arizona State University came to the FSU College of Music in early March to give a variety of trumpet master classes and lectures. What a privilege it was to play for him and receive his comments and constructive criticism! As an added bonus, his incredibly talented wife, Miriam, accompanied me in my performance of Carl Hohne’s Slavonic Fantasy. I have numerous friends and even a few former teachers that are past and current students of Professor Hickman. His career as a performer and pedagogue is truly inspiring, and I am honored to have crossed paths with him, if only for a brief few days.

Working on Slavonic Fantasy by Hohne with Prof. David Hickman

This Spring marks my fourth semester of six total in my doctoral degree at FSU. In addition to various teaching and performing requirements, as a doctoral student, I’m also required to do a good bit of academic writing and research. In March, I completed a writing and research “marathon,” my doctoral preliminary exams. Each faculty member on my doctoral supervisory committee submitted one research question. I was then given one week to research and write an answer. I ended up writing about 65 pages to answer all four questions in one week. The picture you see below is my tiny workspace in FSU’s Strozier Library, as well as my finished exams.

My tiny library work space during prelim exams
The finished product!

Spring Break directly followed the completion of my preliminary exams! To celebrate my husband, Sam’s 30th birthday, we drove to Orlando and had some fun at Epcot and Universal Studios! We had an absolute blast – the weather was picture-perfect, the food was amazing, and the break from school work was gladly welcomed.

Hi from Epcot!

I’ll post again very soon, to catch you up even more, but this will have to do for now! Thanks for your patience!

Love,
Becki

FIVE

Hi, friends!

I hope all is well on your side of the computer screen. Can you believe it is almost March already? Things have been busy for me, as usual. I’m excited to share my recent events with you all!

My Spring semester began with a very exciting FSU basketball game against Duke. I like to think that because of our very enthusiastic (and LOUD) cheering, FSU pulled out for the upset victory that they did. It was a great way to start the new semester alongside good friends!

Go Noles!

In early February, I had the privilege of performing in FSU’s 18th biannual Festival of New Music in the University Symphony Orchestra. It is always a blessing to have a composer of a piece you’re performing in attendance to offer guidance and feedback. We were lucky to have two with us during this concert: Roydon Tse and Louis Andriessen. The concert was even live streamed, which made my family members from Kansas very happy!

Early morning rehearsal smiles
Thankful for technology!

In mid-February, I gave a joint presentation to the FSU trumpet studio on Italian Baroque trumpet repertoire alongside my colleague, Daniel Haddock. I have always loved history and really enjoyed the opportunity to introduce and discuss such cool information to the studio. Special thanks to Professor Goff and Dr. Moore for developing such cool history and listening units and for the opportunity to present.

Mid-presentation

One perk of being a doctoral teaching assistant at FSU is the consistent opportunity to get to know such accomplished guest artists on a personal level. What a privilege it was to spend a whole day playing “chauffeur” to members of the United States Army Brass Quintet! They gave informative master classes to all FSU brass students in the morning and early afternoon and ended the day with a wonderfully inspiring concert.

All smiles post-concert

March and April look to be just as exciting as the past few months. I’ll be in touch later with another update. Until then, take care of yourselves!

Love,
Becki

FOUR

Hi everybody!

Happy New Year! Another year has come and gone, can you believe it? This December marks the half-way point of my doctoral degree, with three semesters down and three to go. So much has happened since I last wrote – let’s catch you up real quick.

In November, I was invited to give a clinic at the upcoming International Trumpet Guild (ITG) Conference on Saturday, June 3, 2017 in Hershey, PA! Keeping it secret until it posted on the official website was a challenge, as I really look froward to the  conference every year! Although I work as a column editor for the ITG journal and have served as a reporter at a number of ITG conferences, this will be my first clinic! I’ll be discussing my research of solo repertoire for the intermediate to beginning advanced student trumpet player that I completed in preparation for recording my CD, In the Light.

ITG 2017, here I come!

In early December, an article I wrote titled “Teaching through Technology: A Recording Project for the Student Trumpeter,” was published in the December 2016 issue of the FMEA Florida Music Director! The article features the research of solo repertoire I completed when working on my CD, and discusses pedagogical components of a few select solos in particular.  Follow the link below, click on “December Issue,” and flip to page 16 to read!

http://floridamusiceducation.org/publications/florida-music-director/

December also included a few goodbye’s to three of my trumpet students. Krystal Romano, Matt Tenoré, and Marcos Ventura are all headed to student teach this Spring and are well on their way to becoming wonderful music educators. What an absolute pleasure it has been spending the past three semesters with each of them! Thank you to Dr. Moore for gifting me with these wonderful people – and to Krystal, Matt, and Marcos for making my job as your trumpet teacher so fulfilling.

Best wishes, Krystal and Matt!
Best wishes, Marcos!

This Christmas Eve marked 10 years of playing both services at Emanuel Lutheran Church in Hutchinson, KS. Sam and I were married in this church in 2011, the organist was my neighbor when I was a little girl, and many members of the congregation are former teachers, mentors, and friends from middle school and high school. As you might imagine, I look forward to this gig every single year! Special thanks to Pastor Carey and Jan Peak for the invitation and wonderful hospitality.

Ready for the Christmas Eve service!

Our trip to Kansas for the holidays this year was filled with lots of laughs and hugs – just what we needed after an incredibly busy semester for both Sam and I! We continue to be blessed with wonderful family and friends and are thankful to have been able to visit for as long as we did. Thanks to both sets of our parents for their patience and hospitality and to our siblings for your friendship and your beautiful children! We love you all.

Christmas with the Ronen’s
Christmas with the Walenz’

Here’s to the start of a new semester, and a new year! Take care of yourselves, friends.

Love,
Becki

THREE

Hi friends! Happy (belated) Thanksgiving! I hope you’re enjoying a relaxing Sunday. Things have been very busy for me, as usual – let me catch you up with what’s been happening in my neck of the woods!

At the end of October, the FSU Trumpet Studio hosted guest artist and clinician Dr. Jason Bergman, Professor of Trumpet at the University of North Texas. I had never met Dr. Bergman personally and was very excited to hear him play and learn from his teaching. I was so impressed with how authentically kind and helpful he was to everyone and am thankful to have had the opportunity to get to know him.

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Mid-master class with Dr. Jason Bergman!

I’m about to finish my third semester in my doctoral degree, and although my workload has been abnormally heavy this Fall, it has also been wonderfully inspiring and exciting. What a pleasure it has been to play with such talented colleagues in the FSU Wind Orchestra this semester! Our most recent concert featured repertoire by Carter Pann, Purcell/Stucky, Darius Milhaud, Narong Prangchareon, and Ron Nelson.

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Last week, I checked another item off the list for the completion of my degree – my lecture recital, titled “Solo Repertoire for Young Students: A Pedagogical Approach.” During the recital, I discussed my extensive research of solo repertoire for the intermediate to beginning advanced student trumpeter that I completed when preparing to record my CD, In the Light: Contest Solos for Student Trumpeters. Special thanks to my pianist, Mark Franklin, the FSU Trumpet Studio for their support, and to my teacher, Dr. Moore, for his guidance and encouragement.

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Mid-performance during my lecture recital!

My parents came to Tallahassee for Thanksgiving this year, to my absolute delight! It doesn’t get much better weather-wise than Florida this time of year, so we chose to  eat our Thanksgiving feast outside. Sam and I absolutely loved their company and are looking forward to a trip home to Kansas for the Christmas holiday in just a few short weeks.

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Happy Thanksgiving from mine to yours!

Tomorrow starts a sprint to the finish line for the end of the semester, I can hardly believe it! Happy Holidays to you and yours.

Love,
Becki

TWO

Hi everybody!

Hope you’re enjoying some beautiful fall weather, wherever you are! This semester seems to be flying by quicker than usual, but thought I’d take a brief moment to update you on a few of my latest events.

Hurricane Hermine hit Tallahassee pretty hard, and had poor timing for my schedule! We lost power for 6 days because of three large trees falling on power lines in our neighborhood – just in time for my mom to visit us for the holiday weekend!  We eventually fled to Atlanta for good food, hot showers, and some shopping. It was our first hurricane for Sam and I – we counted our blessings for no damage to our home.

Post-Hermine in our neighborhood
Post-Hermine in our neighborhood

On October 1, my CD, In the Light: Contest Solos for Student Trumpeters officially released for sale on iTunes (and at beckiwalenz.com under the “purchase” page). I spent 10 months on the CD, starting with grant-writing, then research of repertoire, marketing and promotion, graphic design, rehearsals and recording sessions, editing and mastering, and finally it’s release. I am incredibly proud of the end product and am hopeful students will stumble upon it while googling their contest solos online. Massive thanks to my entire team at Garnet House Productions, The Presser Foundation,  the FSU College of Music, my teacher, Dr. Chris Moore, and my friends in the FSU Trumpet Studio for making the project so enjoyable.

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Mid-presentation on In the Light!
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Available for purchase today!

My coursework and concert schedule as a 2nd year doctoral student at FSU are in full swing, as well! The latest concert with the FSU Wind Orchestra  featured an “All-American” theme. On the program was music by Aaron Copland, Robert Russell Bennett, Dana Wilson, and Don Freund. I especially enjoyed playing alongside my wonderfully talented colleagues. Thanks to all for an enjoyable first performance of the school year!

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All smiles post-concert!

The weather is finally starting to cool off in Tallahassee, and I am counting the days until Thanksgiving! It’s my favorite time of year.

Blessings to you and yours this fall season!
Becki

ONE

Hi everybody!

Welcome to the newly updated beckiwalenz.com! I hope you’ll spare a few minutes of your time to take a peek around and let me know what you think. Included is a brand new headshot taken by Kristy Belcher, an updated bio, and a new calendar feature to help you keep up with my pending concerts and events! I also will continue to blog on what’s happening in my life as a professional trumpet player and educator.

Right now is an exciting time for me, as I work to release a new CD, titled In the Light: Contest Solos for Student Trumpeters on October 1, 2016! Stay tuned for more information.

Take care,
Becki