Slide Factory 2013: Chris Fower, pBone Education

pBone was in Rotterdam to proudly represent pBone as the sponsors of a large-scale education project and commissioned composition: Circus in Trombone Wonderland. (I loved the phrase that described our support: Powered by pBone!)

In addition we were using the occasion to launch our new orange pBone: what better place than Holland to do this?

The education project featured a pBone commissioned work by composer Peter Kleineschaars for trombone choir, circus performers, pBone choir and percussion. The education project element was lead by the Brabants Orchestra bass trombonist and New Trombone Collective member: Mark Boonstra.

Mark Boonstra in action

Mark commented:

“The main goals of The New Trombone Collective are to develop the trombone in the world of music and to introduce this beautiful instrument to everybody outside this world. The trombone is ideal for various purposes, perfect to build a great festival around it, Slide Factory! As a member of the collective we can create our own ideas and make our dreams come true. Every festival we’re blessed we have support from different funding, companies and the city of Rotterdam.

After organizing a few years the Young Trombone Collective, for young talented players (12-18 Years) from all-over The Netherlands, we were looking for a way to really introduce the trombone to younger children. When the pBone offered to support such a project, we were thrilled by the idea of achieving this new goal.”

I asked Mark how working with pBones went:


“Before the festival I gave 4 workshops to 160 schoolchildren, for me this was an amazing voyage of discovery.
I discovered that it is possible to

  • ...enter a classroom with a pile of pBones without breaking a single one of them
  • ...unpack them all together to create a jungle of slides, bells and cases
  • ...make music with 26 trombones together at the same time
  • ...learn in 3 minutes to slide in three positions without words
  • ...leave with a smile”

As you can see Mark “got” what pBone is all about right from the beginning!

I asked Mark about the final performance that I was there both to enjoy and support.

“The workshops ended in a show at a big square in Rotterdam. We played with 50 pBone kids,150 other trombone-players in combination with circus-artists and circus-kids. An spectacular apotheosis of my journey. I'm hoping to continuing the coming years this project at schools, to create a world full of pBone-kids!”

In Performance in Rotterdam

I was personally thrilled by the performance, the combination of circus, “Mega Trombone Ensemble” and kids “powered by pBones” was an impressive visual and aural experience dulled only slightly by the unseasonal cold (with a little snow!). Mark and the New Trombone Collective really did an exceptional job and it was thrilling for me to see how all involved had made great benefit from the informal way that pBone allows users young and old to experience the trombone.

Circus skills

There has already been a second performance of the work in Rotterdam and we are working with the New Trombone Collective to bring the work to new audiences soon.

Slide Factory Photography by Fred Ernst.

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