kaddish in two-part harmony podcasts

daily kaddish: for calvin smith

A kaddish for the esteemed horn soloist, chamber musician, and pedagogue Calvin Smith, who was my first horn teacher.


The estimable horn soloist, chamber musician, and pedagogue Calvin Smith died suddenly of a heart attack this weekend. The obituary in the local newspaper spells out the usual biographical facts.

Calvin was one of my first “real” horn teachers. In the summers starting in junior high, I like a lot of music students in North Dakota and Manitoba made a pilgrimage for a weeklong music camp at the International Music Camp at the Peace Gardens, where Calvin was the horn teacher during band weeks.

He was great—the perfect combination of great artist and humble good guy for something like a summer camp. He was the first teacher I had who was actually a horn player, so I had lots and lots of questions for him. When I returned the second summer, I had three pages on a legal pad filled with questions for Calvin, who was incredibly patient about answering every last one of them—into my tape recorder, no less. I was such a horn geek. Poor guy.

He was the guy who taught me how to play stopped horn—I had never even heard of it before, but one of the pieces we played in honor band called for it, so I got a two-minute crash course in stopped horn in our first sectional, and that is how I learned to play stopped horn. I don’t know if anyone’s ever taught stopping more efficiently than that! So I particularly enjoyed playing the brief stopped passage in this “Kaddish” for Calvin.

By erin

Erin Vang, PMP, BMus, MMus, is Owner and Principal Pragmatist of the consultancy Global Pragmatica LLC®, offering custom JMP scripting, localization program management, and facilitative leadership services. She is also an orchestral horn player who freelances in the San Francisco Bay Area and plays assorted brass for the celebrated dance bands Midnight Smørgåsbord and contraPtion. More about Erin…

2 replies on “daily kaddish: for calvin smith”

He taught well.

According to his obit he was only 61. As we say, life is uncertain. Eat dessert first.

Yikes — is that the lesson? And here I am, not even able to enjoy a couple sips of coffee without ending up in the ER! I like it your way better.

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