On March 27, 2009, I was fortunate to be part of a retirement concert in honor of Gail Wilson, professor of trombone at Arizona State University for 37 years, instructor at the Brevard Music Center for 20 summers, and principal trombonist with the Phoenix Symphony for 18 years. Gail was my trombone professor and advisor during my doctorate at Arizona State University, and his meticulous, caring style left an indelible mark on my own teaching and playing.
The concert, called “A Wilson Gail-A,” was an involved, carefully-planned affair organized by Gail’s son, Brian. The program included former and present students who gathered from all over the country. It featured two separate quartets, soloists representing each era of Gail’s teaching at ASU, a wind ensemble, a newly-commissioned work by Douglas Akey for Charlie Vernon (for alto & bass trombones and wind ensemble), the ASU Jazz Repertory Band (directed by Sam Pilafian), a small trombone ensemble, and a mass trombone ensemble of 50-plus players. It was a fitting tribute to a great musician, teacher, and person. A nice review of the concert by Derek Reaban can be found here at trumpetherald.com. There’s also a a very complete “photo journal” of the evening here.