One of my favorite people in the horn world is Lowell (“Spike”) Shaw. Not only is he a talented horn player and composer, but he is absolutely one of the kindest, most genuine people I have ever met. We first became acquainted at an International Horn Symposium many years ago and we have maintained a friendship that has been kindled at various horn workshops over the years.
Here is the story of how we began the tradition of playing Bipperies at regional symposiums. He and his wife Ellen were exhibiting their music (The Hornist’s Nest) at one table while I was representing Houghton Horns in the adjoining room. As any exhibitor knows, there are many “quiet” times in the exhibit rooms during the convention when the participants are attending a master class or recital. I was bored. Spike was bored. I finally gained the courage to ask him if he would like to play some of his music with me. This is how our conversation went:
Spike: “I didn’t bring my horn.”
Me: “We have plenty of horns on our table. You can pick one!”
Spike: “I don’t know. I haven’t practiced in a while. I’m out of shape.”
Me: “Perfect! Me too!”
Spike: “Hmmm…I’m not sure….”
Me: “Great! I’ll see you tomorrow morning!”
And so, the tradition had begun. We set up two chairs and a stand and began to read through Bipperries. Soon, a small crowd gathered, smiling and taking pictures. We added another chair and extended the invitation to play Tripperies. After a while, our group grew to Fripperies! We all had such a delightful time reading music together and getting to know other horn players from around the country.
I cherish my time playing with Spike. Sometimes we sneak out the back door at a workshop and play Bipperies and More Bipperies. I love his sweet spirit and he inspires me to be better. My young students have thoroughly enjoyed performing his music and arrangements at various ensemble and recital events. I even bought barber shop hats, vests and glasses for them to wear when they perform Frippery #8. I am so thankful for Spike and his contributions to the horn world.
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