By Molly Sorensen
As the centerpiece of this week’s Brown Bag Series warmed up his trumpet, people started filing into the Mildred and Ernest E. Mayo Concert Hall on Friday, April 6. Randy Tinnin, an associate professor of trumpet and the director of the brass ensemble at the University of North Florida, was the man of the hour.
Tinnin casually stepped offstage and mingled with audience members, asking about their majors and interest in contemporary music. He then returned to the stage and set up to play two strikingly different — but equally powerful — pieces, one by a Japanese composer and one American.
Tinnin offered one piece of advice before he began: “Fall into the music and let your mind go.”
About the feat of playing solo, he said there is a lack of “the give and take, the natural conversation that happens as you go.”
Tinnin gestured towards audience members using his sparkling silver trumpet, showing just how confortable he was handling the instrument. He called on Gary Fienberg, the chair of the College’s Music Department.
“Anger is definitely a characteristic of music that we understand only musically” Fienberg said, describing the tone of the pieces. “It is not written in.”
To remind the audience of how crucial it is to stay connected to the music, Tinnin shared a story with the audience.
The story began with a violinist playing for an ill man and his wife and daughter. After the first piece that the violinist played, the man said, “Thank you.” For the rest of the session, the whole family cried whenever the violinist played. He thought his music had a negative effect and was apologetic towards the family. The wife later told him that her husband had been mute for years, and only after hearing the beautiful music could he find words.
“It’s a magical thing,” Tinnin said, describing the undeniable power of playing live music.
Magical was the only way to describe the almost tangible vibes running through Mayo. As he finished the last piece, the echo of the final note hung in the air, followed quickly by excited applause.
Tinnin was conscious of providing a universally enjoyable and beneficial experience for his diverse audience.
When one question from the audience directed him toward his personal interests and where he is musically, he kept the mood light.
“Honestly, I just like playing the trumpet,” he said — a blunt but unexpectedly satisfying way to close out this intimate concert session.