If you’ve had a chance to read the latest issue of Bass World, you’ll remember an article talking about bassists gathering at noon every day to play in ensembles.  It is a great way to meet your colleagues and make some music together.  The Noontime Bass Ensemble project has developed since it started in 1999.  Ture Damhus was the force behind the first adventure (known then as the daily ‘Amateur Forum’.

You can trace it back to the convention in 1999 (see Bass World vol 23 no. 2 p. 30). I believe I had the pleasure of suggesting the idea while on the ISB board at the time. The noontime playing was kicked off in Iowa (where we actually did also run an introductory  workshop or ‘forum’ for and about amateurs), and  we were a number of amateurs enjoying this activity there and also at the next couple of conventions, assisted and coached by several of the professional players around (not the least Norman Ludwin, who also supplied a lot of the sheet music).  After 2003, I have not been able to participate in the conventions, but have been happy to see that the concept was viable and that convention attendees have continued to be active in this way. I do remember that some of my colleagues on the board apparently felt that the term ‘amateur’ was somehow a bit awkward. This may be an interesting cultural difference. In my country, it is neutral when used in this context; an amateur player by definition does not make a living by playing, and that’s all.  No other implications or prejudices. But you can see that we made it ‘non-professional players’ in that old Bass World article.

Anyway, that is the explanation for ‘Amateur Forum’. Nootime Bass Ensembles seems to be a very apt replacement, and if the clientele is well mixed and there are even more good coaches, that’s just great news!

Ture Damhus
Danish Bass Society

This past June, groups, ranging in size from quartets to an octet, played through a variety of music written and/or arranged for double bass groups.  Our coaches leading the groups and playing along with the ensembles included Renaud Boucher-Browning, Tod J. Leavitt, Rémy Yulzari, Joel Braun, Adam Booker, and Garry Wasserman.

What would you like to see in 2017?  Do you want to play in one of these groups?  As part of our celebration at Ithaca College, we want to hear from you about your dreams for the next convention.  Your voice matters.  It’s your ISB.