Canadian Musician - September/October 2017 - Page 46

Mary Fearon •Moennig French Horn How To t u O d n a St B eing a woman in this industry is a blessing and a curse, and in some cases, a benign second thought. Trombonist Heather Saumer regularly notices. “I still get singled out for being the only female in a band,” she shares. “I cringe when I play at a pub and someone starts taking a video because a female trombone player is still a novelty to people. I still get asked questions about my wardrobe or appearance, and comments about my size and lung capacity. I often find myself uncomfortable at venues that cater to a drinking crowd.” While the sex of who’s playing may or may not matter to the musicians, it seems to always come up with an audience. I rarely do a gig that doesn’t include some well-meaning person in the audience commenting: “It’s sure unusual to see a female playing trombone.” Being a female and getting called out on physical appearance on the stage made me hyper aware of how I present myself to an audi- ence, including how to move onstage. Singers move a lot all the time, and they require just as much diaphragmatic control as brass players do. I was playing in a ska band when the singer called me out – on stage – for not bringing as much energy to the show as she was. So now I actually practice knee-highs while playing trombone in stiletto heels. This goes against everything I learned in university and method books about stillness and grounded playing. Do such theatrics enhance the phrasing or musicality of my lines? Maybe. Does it add the un- necessary risk of breaking an ankle or knocking out my front teeth? Probably. But clients, audiences, and bandleaders remember it, seem to get a kick out of it, and it saves me from having to do calf raises at the gym. Being a woman onstage can be a humbling reminder that audiences often listen with their eyes. Trombonist Audrey Ochoa is a rising star on the Canadian jazz scene. After having completed studies in classical trombone at the University of Alberta, Audrey began performing professionally across Canada and abroad as a member of multiple ensembles. Audrey has found a home in jazz, composing her own tunes that often have a Latin feel and definitely convey her sense of humour. Her sophomore album, Afterthought, is now available via Chronograph Records. www.audreyochoa.com. 46 • C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N Mary Fearon was born in Edmonton, AB and holds a Bachelor of Music de- gree from the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Alberta. While living in Toronto, she performed with many groups including the Ca- nadian Opera Company, the Toronto Symphony, the Toronto Pops Orchestra, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, and the York Brass. Since returning to Edmonton, she has been a regular performer with the Edmonton Symphony, the Citadel Theatre, Alberta Baroque Ensemble, and numerous chamber ensembles. She has been featured on Our Mu- sic, CBC Radio, and has performed in the Wednesday at Winspear series. She is also the founding member and conductor of Horns A’ Plenty, a horn choir with over 20 members. Fearon has been the horn instructor at Alberta Col- lege since 1994, and teaches horn at University of Al- berta and Concordia University College. She has been a Teaching Musician with the National Arts Centre’s Music Alive program since 2011 and loves encouraging stu- dents to engage in meaningful ways with classical and contemporary composers. Heather Saumer •King 2B+ Trombone •Bach 6½ AL Mouthpiece H eather Saumer is an active performer in Toronto as trombonist, vocalist, arranger, composer, improviser, songwriter, curator, educator, and board member of the Somewhere There Creative Music Presentation. Currently, she is a member of the Massey Hall Band, John Oswald’s Radiant Brass, Doug Tielli Trio, Jay Hay’s Interstellar Orchestra, The Mark Segger Sextet, her own projects – which often include elements of movement/visual art/spacial considerations – and other ad hoc projects. Her performance career has taken her across Canada, Europe, and to New York, and she’s performed with a diverse array of artists, including Broken Social Scene, members of the ICP Orchestra, Sylvie Courvoisier, Bry Webb, and Owen Pallett.